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Saturday, December 23, 2017

NAP Time III



From the comments to my post An Adult Enters the Room.  The dialogue was started by The NAPster December 20, 2017 at 9:36 AM, but I will pick up the conversation beginning with his comments at The NAPster December 23, 2017 at 5:13 AM:

…is the fact that one is unable to get what one wants fast enough (or even ever) a philosophical justification for violating the NAP?

I begin here because this point raises one of the foundational issues to the entire dialogue.  I have written far too many times: the idea of “open borders” cannot be derived from the non-aggression principle.  So how can I be making a philosophical justification for violating the NAP when the thing I am arguing against cannot be derived from the NAP?

I would appreciate an answer to this question.

BM, is it fair to say that our different approaches to achieving our objective can be summarized as follows: I am advocating chipping away at the state from the bottom, and you are advocating directing it from the top?

No, it is not fair to say.  First of all, are we discussing the entirety of this thing called “the state” or are we discussing this specific issue of open borders?  Why would you make such a sweeping generalization based on the discussion of a very narrow topic?

I would appreciate an answer to these questions.

Second, I have written specifically what I am advocating on this specific topic – the steps offered by de Soto along with my step requiring a sponsor.  Let’s examine what you are advocating:

Perhaps instead of “open borders,” the better description of what I am advocating is “self-managed borders,” even if it seems to be a less effective policy, contrasted with your proposal of “state-managed borders.”

In a world of state borders, can you come up with an option – any option – in which the state will not manage the borders?  Now, I can come up with such options for drug laws, prostitution, medical care, courts, money and credit, etc. – the state just needs to take such laws of off the book and / or the state just needs to eliminate the monopoly protection it affords to itself.

But as to managing state borders in a world of state borders, can you come up with an option in which the state is not the entity managing the borders?  It is not acceptable to suggest that “no one will manage the state borders.”  First of all, there is nothing libertarian in such a concept – as even you admit, someone will manage the borders (in your case “self”).

Second, and I will greatly simplify an argument I have expanded on several times: borders can only be derived from a minarchist view of the NAP; one plank of the minarchist view is that the state provides for defense; so how will the state provide for defense unless it knows who is crossing the borders and for what purpose?

I would appreciate an answer to these questions.  Because if you cannot come up with another option, then it will be the state that manages the borders.

So, referring to the aforementioned de Soto, he offers steps that mimic “self-managed borders” as much as is possible in a world of “state-managed borders.”  Because, until you have an answer to managing state borders that does not involved the state managing the state borders, well…the state will manage state borders (do you see the common theme here?).  All that is left is the “how.”

Now, you could advocate that the state just do nothing: no border agents, no passport checks, no nothing; in other words, impotence when it comes to managing my property.  But, in a way, I guess you are advocating this…First, you cite my earlier comment:

For a principle grounded on respecting full private property rights, impotence kind of seems like a worse alternative than the one I propose. 

You respond:

I would say impotence in terms of timing only; my proposal may get us there eventually, but in a longer time-frame than your proposal.

I have had this same discussion with Walter Block; I offer, in the following, the key passages.  As background, Block has identified that the libertarian position on open borders requires two things: full private property rights and open immigration – not just one thing (being open immigration).


Bionic: There are many libertarians who will say that open borders TODAY - without full private property rights - is libertarian, and would therefore open the borders.  Would YOU do this TODAY absent full private property rights?  I really am trying to get a yes or no answer from you on this specific question.

Block: Now, to fully answer your question: I agree with those libertarians, not you. If I had the power to open the borders, fully, right now, I’d do it.

So, Block would fully open the borders right now, even without full private property rights.  It is a position, but not a libertarian position.  One can call it a transitional position toward liberty (I do not, as I will explain shortly), but not a libertarian position.  After I point this out, Block offers:

Block: On a practical level, I still think I can have my cake and eat it too, here. Namely, I predict that it would take less time for us to privatize everything, if we had full power, than for the hordes to descend upon us en masse.

This is where, frankly, I was stunned (and even beyond the “if we had full power” part):

Bionic: We have seen this transitional position put in place in Germany and Europe recently – open immigration without fully privatized property.

How has this worked out for liberty?  Certainly, for the immigrants, it has enhanced their liberty.

What of the Germans, Swedes, and other Europeans?  Are they MORE free?  Have there been calls for REDUCED government action because of this open-border-induced influx?  Has all property been privatized before the masses descended?  Has the swamp been drained, with “full power” returning to those who wish to privatize everything?

The answer for each of these is, of course, no.  The answer is worse than no.  The answer for each of these is exactly the opposite of a move toward liberty.

Yet, this, apparently, is the position of open borders libertarians; one that moves us away from the possibility of liberty.

Conclusion

To achieve the libertarian position on open borders requires two things: full private property rights and open immigration.  To take one without the other could be helpful as a transitional position, but transitional positions are only appropriate if they move us toward a libertarian society.

Walter’s transitional position – just have open immigration now without full private property rights – most certainly does not move us toward a libertarian society; the examples are all around us and too numerous to mention.

Your transitional position – if not impotence, something approaching it – gives us the world we have today, a world where advocacy on this topic comes from only people like George Soros; again, we have examples all around us of the direction in which his position moves society.

My transitional position – again, advocating for the steps offered by de Soto, etc. – can move us toward a libertarian society.  First of all, the steps being advocated mimic what would likely occur in a full private property society in any case – as opposed to merely opening the borders (or impotence), which mimics the exact opposite of what would happen in a private property society.  So…this isn’t a bad start.

Second, libertarians get a big fail when they don’t recognize the value of common culture, tradition, generally accepted norms, etc., in achieving and maintaining a reasonably libertarian society.  I have written on this too many times to count.  But don’t take it from me; there is this guy named Murray Rothbard that might be worth listening to on occasion.

Please show me why this belief on my part is wrong.

There is a better chance for holding to a common culture and tradition under de Soto’s proposals than for it to occur under fully open borders.

So, if we are stuck with choosing between transitional positions, why choose the one certain to move us away from liberty?  Why choose the one that, coincidentally, is supported both by most western states and the likes of George Soros?  Is it possible that these entities are truly supporting a libertarian society?  Or, alternatively, is it possible that they understand the consequences of such a policy more than the open borders libertarians do – Antonio Gramsci’s communist strategy to destroy the culture thereby leaving us nothing but the state?

I would appreciate answers to these questions.

35 comments:

  1. "Why would you make such a sweeping generalization based on the discussion of a very narrow topic?"

    ...Because that is how dissemblers dissemble.

    Open borders is a Communistic euphemism that everyone is equally entitled to state-expropriated resources.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It boggles the mind that those people that advocate for open borders under state management like Jacob Hornberger think that they are somehow advocating for the state merely refraining from action by having open borders. That's not the case. In the West the open borders are a state policy package deal, which always come with subsidies to the immigrant (to encourage more to come). In my country not only are the immigrants subsidized, they also have better civil and political rights than the majority native population. They are privileged over the native population for jobs. They are legally immunized from criticism by government. Every single migrant arriving under this system dramatically decreases the individual liberty of MY people. If my people aren't allowed a dignified existence under libertarianism, what is the point of all this talk of "liberty"?

    My country now has thousands of Sudanese people getting billions of dollars in state aid, and causing a crime wave in which they openly target the white people of this country. These are the people that Jacob Hornberger would ask the state to bring into my country. Under BM's idea of requiring a local sponsor (NOT a foreign Rothschild wrecker!), it is safe to say that no one would take the risk of bringing in these Sudanese, or if they did there would be appropriate punishment and recompense for doing so.

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/who-let-in-the-sudanese-amanda-vanstone/news-story/9497646aaac16f3fdfa11673d2a12ea4

    To emphasize - when you call for the state to open borders, you are advocating for the whole package of state actions.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "...when you call for the state to open borders, you are advocating for the whole package of state actions."

      Yes. It isn't a Chinese dinner menu - choose one from column A and two from column B.

      Nope. It is all or nothing.

      And this is only one of many difficulties with accepting open borders as the only libertarian position (let alone other reasons to take issue with those who hold this view).

      Delete
  3. One point is not fair in your post.. in Europe and in Germany there isn’t anything as open immigration or open borders. I don’t know why you have this idea, but is completely wrong. There are refugees and state programs to host them, but that is a very different thing.

    Anonimo Lombardo

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    1. I do not understand your point. Open borders libertarians insist that the government not control who comes into the country - anyone may freely enter.

      In Europe - and led by Merkel in Germany - the governments enacted precisely this procedure; the governments did not control the borders - anyone could freely enter.

      So, if you want to state that I am completely wrong, you must explain yourself - because merely saying that I am wrong is pointless if you want a dialogue.

      Delete
    2. In Europe - and led by Merkel in Germany - the governments enacted precisely this procedure; the governments did not control the borders - anyone could freely enter....?

      I don't know way you have this idea. But that's really far from truth. Where do you find those informations? Neither in Germany or in Europe anyone can freely enter. Maybe you are thinking of freedom granted to european citizens to move freely across internal borders? But that of course does not apply to people who are not european citizens, as refugees from Africa or middle East...

      Anonimo Lombardo

      Delete
    3. God help me, I am talking to a wall.

      You cannot be this misinformed. Or was everything that happened in Europe a couple of summers ago and everything Merkel said about taking all comers fabricated?

      I was going to do a search and offer you the links, but I will not waste my time on this day in this way.

      Delete
    4. BM, with all the respect of the world, I'm from Italy, I pass in Italy many months a year, my family is italian, I have friends in many other european countries, I follow daily the news from many sources about Europe, immigration, Italy, etc.. Forgive me if, until you prove me wrong, I remain convinced to be more informed than you about this. I think that your example is absolutely without foundation. Consider the possibility that you are misinformed, or that you have badly interpreted something. For example, what Merkel simply said, is nothing more than empty words, what matters are the real laws, proceedings and behavior practiced.

      Anonimo lombardo

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    5. http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/merkel-under-fire-as-refugee-crisis-in-germany-worsens-a-1060720.html

      http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/cologne-attacks-trigger-raw-debate-on-immigration-in-germany-a-1071175.html

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/nov/08/angela-merkel-refugee-crisis-europe

      https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/09/germany-merkel-refugee-asylum/405058/

      http://www.dw.com/en/merkel-refugee-crisis-a-historic-test-of-europe/a-18784341

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-opens-its-gates-berlin-says-all-syrian-asylum-seekers-are-welcome-to-remain-as-britain-is-10470062.html

      http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/refugee-policy-of-chancellor-merkel-divides-europe-a-1053603.html

      http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/a-look-back-at-the-refugee-crisis-one-year-later-a-1107986.html

      I can give you 100 more; a simple search on Merkel refugee crisis 2015 will give you a never-ending list of sources.

      In any case, you are not the only one who spends time regularly in Europe and has friends and family in Europe.

      The burden of proof is not on me; every story I have linked is from a very mainstream organization – no wackos in the bunch.

      Unless you want to tell me that this is all fake news? If so, that does not explain what I have seen with my own eyes and heard from my own friends.

      Delete
  4. I think you're making a mistake in these border discussions in that you seem to think of the state's claim to a particular geography as something akin to a homeowner's claim to a homestead. I'd like to read your thoughts on this subject, but with the comparisons being made between the state and other criminal organizations, rather than legit property owners. When the Hells Angels claim dominion over California and commit violence against others to enforce their claim, do you give their claim the same respect as you give the state?

    "To achieve the libertarian position on open borders requires two things: full private property rights and open immigration. To take one without the other could be helpful as a transitional position, but transitional positions are only appropriate if they move us toward a libertarian society."

    Do you respect their borders the way you do the state's?

    Should we wait until we have "full private property rights" to deny the Crips claim to some neighborhoods here and there?

    Borders are NOT property lines, they are unlawful claims to to places and people resting only on threats of violence and you should treat them as such.

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    1. “I think you're making a mistake in these border discussions in that you seem to think of the state's claim to a particular geography as something akin to a homeowner's claim to a homestead.”

      I do not do this at all. To drastically summarize my point: a homeowner manages his borders; two or more (a hundred, a thousand, a million) homeowners can jointly agree to a common standard to manage their external borders. This is all perfectly within the NAP.

      That the state has usurped agency and also makes the rules – in both cases without the consent of the affected property owners – does not change the fact that the homeowners – individually and therefore collectively – hold these rights.

      “…do you give their claim the same respect as you give the state?”

      I give the state no respect on this topic (or any other), so why would I give a gang any such respect? I have written what I have written; I have never written anything approaching this.

      “Borders are NOT property lines, they are unlawful claims to to places and people resting only on threats of violence and you should treat them as such.”

      Who claims that borders are property lines? I make a simple point: one cannot derive “open borders” strictly from the non-aggression principle.

      Delete
    2. "...homeowners can jointly agree to a common standard to manage their external borders."

      Oh, we agree they can, we also agree they haven't.

      "That the state has usurped agency and also makes the rules – in both cases without the consent of the affected property owners – does not change the fact that the homeowners – individually and therefore collectively – hold these rights.'

      Oh, yes it does. Usurping that agency is just a fancy way of saying that those rights have been taken. I don't live in a gated neighborhood. If I put up roadblocks to the ways in/out and man them with armed guards to decide who may enter, then I have taken the rights of my neighbors to decide these things. If along the way I also trample upon their private property rights, then you would support my claim to the neighborhood so long as I continue to deny them full private property rights?

      Having a state use violence to force non-consenting people to follow its edicts most certainly violates the NAP, and is not comparable to homeowners voluntarily agreeing to a common defense of there property.
      "I make a simple point: one cannot derive “open borders” strictly from the non-aggression principle."

      One cannot derive borders without violating the non-aggression principle.

      Delete
    3. "One cannot derive borders without violating the non-aggression principle."

      Precisely, which is one reason I made my statement.

      Delete
  5. You are quite right, of course, that open borders cannot be derived from the NAP. But here's the thing: closed borders cannot be derived from it either. So what are we to to do, given that we live in a world of states? I am strongly in favour of freedom. Freedom of movement. Freedom of contract. Freedom of association. And you know what? If we had a libertarian world I strongly suspect that property owners would be in favour of these things too.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. "...closed borders cannot be derived from it either."

      This can be more easily derived than open borders; however, it is managed borders that most perfectly can be derived from libertarian theory.

      "I am strongly in favour of freedom."

      As am I.

      "Freedom of movement. Freedom of contract. Freedom of association."

      What about freedom to discriminate and freedom to exclude?

      "If we had a libertarian world I strongly suspect that property owners would be in favour of these things too."

      I think such individuals would find proper means to both manage their individual borders and ensure appropriate freedoms to move about.

      Delete
    2. David MacRae

      >So what are we to to do, given that we live in a world of states? I am strongly in favour of freedom.

      You don’t have any power. We don’t have any power. When the system won’t do something as basic as enforce its control over its positively claimed territory it’s because its ambitions lay beyond this territory. The people who control the western governments are looking to their position in a post-nationstate world. Borders are as irrelevant to them as they are to you yet supposedly they are “Statists.” States are only a tool. They can be useful or they can be an obstacle in the designs of the oligarchs.

      It’s hard to tell sometimes with libertarians if they are dumb, playing dumb, or actually autistic. I want to give benefit of the doubt because there are some areas in which libertarians have been geopolitically astute. Some can be found on antiwar dot com, and LRC has linked to great content over the years (like moonofalabama). Now that we are seeing the endgame play out before our eyes you people go full Forest Gump?? I used to think libertarians were radicals. You can’t see the support of crony corporations, the state department, and insidious NGOs for a project of ethnic cleansing through mass migration and not understand what’s going on??

      I can understand if you are personally invested in the globalist project, that you are anti-white/anti-European either by ethnic allegiance, spite/envy, or even personal character but to believe you can find any end in this conforming to a principle of “human liberty” or “freedom”(taken at its best) is actually more disturbing to me.

      Delete
    3. "If we had a libertarian world I strongly suspect that property owners would be in favour of these things too"

      Property owners would be willing to give money, health care and resources to Somalians for no reason at all? Seems very doubtful.

      Delete
  6. "If we had a libertarian world I strongly suspect that property owners would be in favour of these things too"

    Property owners would be willing to give money, health care and resources to Somalians for no reason at all? Seems very doubtful.

    ReplyDelete
  7. (Part 1 of 2)

    BM:

    “. . . the idea of “open borders” cannot be derived from the non-aggression principle.”

    In my view, state-managed borders cannot be derived from the NAP. Everything that the state does is a violation of the NAP; therefore, state management of borders is a violation of the NAP. I continue to believe that you are really talking about strategy – to get to a NAP-respecting world, you advocate a certain path – as opposed to libertarian principle, which is to reject state action. I see your proposal as of a piece with “To make an omelet, you have to break some eggs.” You don’t like one outcome of adhering to the NAP in a world of criminals (the state), but instead of sticking to the NAP, you want to have the criminals at least work towards your end. However, the only two border concepts that are consistent with the NAP are private management of borders, and the absence of state action in managing borders.

    “No, it is not fair to say. First of all, are we discussing the entirety of this thing called “the state” or are we discussing this specific issue of open borders? Why would you make such a sweeping generalization based on the discussion of a very narrow topic?”

    I said “to achieving our objective,” by which I meant to get to a NAP-based society. You have said that to get there from here we need (as one component) the state to manage borders per de Soto’s principles.

    “In a world of state borders, can you come up with an option – any option – in which the state will not manage the borders?”

    Why does what the state does or wants to do determine libertarian principle? We should be advocating libertarian principle in the face of the state, not finding room for the state in our philosophy.

    “It is not acceptable to suggest that “no one will manage the state borders.” First of all, there is nothing libertarian in such a concept – as even you admit, someone will manage the borders (in your case “self”).”

    I am not suggesting that no one will manage borders. The state is not the only alternative. Private citizens can manage borders. When we suggest getting rid of state courts, we do not mean that no one will adjudicate disputes; we mean the private sector will provide such services.

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  8. (Part 2 of 2)

    As to the minarchist point, yes, I agree with you about national defense and minarchy, but I am not a minarchist (it is just another form of statism), and believe that neither minarchy nor state borders are consistent with the NAP.

    Regarding culture, I too “recognize the value of common culture, tradition, generally accepted norms, etc., in achieving and maintaining a reasonably libertarian society.” I’m just not willing to advocate using the state to get there. I will manage the borders of my own private property, and in parallel try to chip away at the state in the numerous ways I’ve mentioned before. The state is the greatest “disrespecter” and destroyer of private property rights, and is unreformable – trampling on private property rights is its very nature – yet we are supposed to look to the state for our solution?

    “So, if we are stuck with choosing between transitional positions, why choose the one certain to move us away from liberty?”

    I would say choose the transitional position that does not violate the NAP. Note, too, that transitional positions that move us towards liberty can be objectionable if contrary to the NAP. For instance, consider the situation where the state proposes making grants to the shining beacon that is the Mises Institute. Yes, that might be a transitional position moving us towards liberty, in the sense of providing more resources to educate the population about liberty, but it would involve forcibly taking money from taxpayers and giving it away contrary to how some of them would have chosen to spend it. Thus it would be philosophically inconsistent with the NAP to support such grants (much as we might wish more funds to be bestowed upon the Mises Institute). So too, supporting state management of borders.

    There is one thing that I still don’t understand about the state-managed borders concept as a way to get the population mix you believe is critical to getting to a libertarian society. There are plenty of citizens, not just immigrants, who are inimical to libertarianism and who don’t respect the principles of traditional, western civilization. If it’s important to advocate for the state to exclude immigrants who fail this test, shouldn’t the state-managed borders libertarian position also advocate for the state to revoke the citizenship of, and deport, citizens who fail this test? Who cares where these people come from (here or there) if they don’t fit the bill? Moreover, since it is likely that any offspring of these unwanted citizens will grow up to share their parents’ beliefs, each time such a citizen brings a new child into the world this is similar to the arrival of an unwanted immigrant: it adds one more unwanted person to the local population. Thus, shouldn’t the state-managed borders libertarian position also call for state licensing of who can become parents, and/or state-mandated sterilization?

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    1. BM: . . . the idea of “open borders” cannot be derived from the non-aggression principle.

      NAPster: In my view, state-managed borders cannot be derived from the NAP.

      I agree with your statement; however I have found it both futile and frustrating to attempt to have a conversation with any libertarian who does not agree with my statement – who won’t even address my statement (and not merely my statement, but the thousands of words I have written to make my case).

      My point: the issue of borders in a world of state borders – open, closed, managed, whatever – CANNOT be derived SOLELY from the NAP. “Open borders is the ONLY libertarian position,” people will scream. This is just nonsense. It isn’t a libertarian position at all – ask Walter Block (who will say, I am sure, that it is the only libertarian position despite the fact that in his own words, in order to make it a libertarian position it requires other conditions which do not exist in this world of state borders).

      So, I will proceed in this dialogue if you confirm that you agree with my statement; otherwise I feel like I have been on this treadmill too many times. One of your further statements gives me pause to continue this dialogue, when you write of me “…but instead of sticking to the NAP…”

      I know and admit that I am not sticking to the NAP – but do you know and admit that an advocate of open borders is not sticking to the NAP?

      So unless you confirm this, I will not get on this treadmill again and certainly not on Christmas.

      Delete
    2. "I would say choose the transitional position that does not violate the NAP".

      Your open borders position DOES violate the NAP. You just aren't letting them in - you are bringing them in to loot and attack me.

      Delete
  9. Napster,

    "However, the only two border concepts that are consistent with the NAP are private management of borders, and the absence of state action in managing borders".

    This assertion is precisely what BM claims to be false. In a world of States and State borders, "open borders" also violates the NAP. So, when you say "choose the transitional position that does not violate the NAP", you have evaded, not answered, his question.

    The State imposes positive obligations on us which, according to libertarian theory, is a NAP violation. Open, closed or managed border policies, in a world of States and State borders, all impose positive obligations on us. Thus, BM's argument is not that "we" should favor a NAP violating policy over a non-NAP violating police because such a stance is more conducive to achieving liberty, it is that all possible border policies violate the NAP and thus it is reasonable to assert a preference for one that is more conducive to the achievement of one's goal than another. Pointing out that closed or managed borders in a world of States violates the NAP, while correct, is irrelevant to BM's argument.

    Conveniently, you provide an example that shows that you accept that the imposition by the State of any positive obligation is a NAP violation.

    "For instance, consider the situation where the state proposes making grants to the shining beacon that is the Mises Institute. Yes, that might be a transitional position moving us towards liberty, in the sense of providing more resources to educate the population about liberty, but it would involve forcibly taking money from taxpayers and giving it away contrary to how some of them would have chosen to spend it. Thus it would be philosophically inconsistent with the NAP to support such grants".

    All border policies, in the world as it currently exists, violate the NAP.

    Kind Regards,
    Jeremy

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    1. Jeremy

      Reading this has brought a tear to my eye. Sincerely.

      Thank you.

      Delete
    2. Jeremy:

      What positive obligation does the state impose on us by the state not managing the national border?

      Delete
    3. Good job on your response.

      Napster:
      You are kidding, right? Do you live in a member State of these uSA? Does April 15 ring any bells?

      Delete
  10. Dear BM,

    Thank you for the thoughtful essays and the forum you provide for discussion. It is excellent.

    Merry Christmas, Jeremy

    ReplyDelete
  11. Finally someone gets it. I have been arguing for years that the road to liberty must follow an order of operations or not only won't get there but things will get worse.

    Open borders is one of the things that comes after we have practically world-wide liberty. Open borders or the lack of state borders is actually a result of liberty. It's a product of creating a society of individuals.

    When borders are open with government what happens is that those who wish to obtain legal plunder for themselves move to where they can get it. Sure lots of hard working people move too but most of them won't be principled libertarians and will take what the state offers them.

    But for the sake of argument let us say that it is only the things the state has monopoly on. If it is just schools, roads, sewers, whathaveyou the large scale immigration allows the state to impose costs on those already here if the new arrivals don't have at least some baseline level of economic productivity. This is why so many countries require immigrants to able to achieve some level of income or put in some level of investment. It keeps from importing burdens to the society. Most people in the world do not have and may never have the economic productivity to pay for what they would consume by moving to the USA, Europe, etc.

    Simply put we will not transition to liberty by importing people who don't believe in it and have a net benefit from the state.

    At the very least open borders first would have to have some sort of screening and then it isn't open borders any longer. It's actually more closed than the USA is presently.

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    1. Thank you for the comment. I have been working through this for two or three years along with the help of several regular feedbackers. I would certainly welcome your ongoing contribution.

      Delete
    2. B:

      There is a difference between libertarian principle (which says that, since the initiation of force is wrong, and everything that the state does involves initiating force, therefore everything that the state does is contrary to libertarian principle), and libertarian strategy (which asks what is the best route to get from here to a NAP-respecting society). While it doesn’t surprise me that libertarians argue over strategy, it is puzzling why there is a disagreement over principle. Arguing for the state to have a role in any part of our lives, including managing borders, seems obviously contrary to libertarian principle. However, I can appreciate why for some it is a key part of libertarian strategy. I look at it this way: the state’s welfare system is a NAP violation, as is the state’s border management; if there were a state welfare system but no immigration (Venezuela?), the welfare system would still be a wrong; if there were intended immigrants but no state welfare system (pre-1960s US?), state border management would still be a wrong.

      With respect to strategy, I am partial to Rothbard’s view that principle should trump strategy, i.e., we should only call for reductions in state power and never try to excuse or find room for the state. He makes this point in the final chapter of “For a New Liberty,” and provides a useful example: “Similarly, in this age of permanent federal deficits, we are often faced with the practical problem: Should we agree to a tax cut, even though it may well result in an increased government deficit? … But since taxation is an illegitimate act of aggression, any failure to welcome a tax cut—any tax cut— with alacrity undercuts and contradicts the libertarian goal. The time to oppose government expenditures is when the budget is being considered or voted upon; then the libertarian should call for drastic slashes in expenditures as well. In short, government activity must be reduced whenever it can: any opposition to a particular cut in taxes or expenditures is impermissible, for it contradicts libertarian principles and the libertarian goal.”

      There are a number of problems with the “No liberty without sequencing” concept, but the main one is that it effectively argues that one state wrong provides the intellectual support for another. Since the state commits the wrong of having a coercive welfare system, while that is around we have to support state border management. Perhaps other examples will make the point more clearly. We should support state subsidies to businesses and colleges because, if we didn’t, fewer people would find jobs, and the state’s unemployment benefits payments would increase. We should support the Obamacare individual mandate because, if it goes away, insurance premiums would go up, which will increase state subsidies to those who can’t afford health insurance. We should support the state prohibiting or restricting smoking tobacco because, if more people smoke and their health suffers, this will increase the costs of Medicaid and Medicare.

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  12. "Everything that the state does involves initiating force, therefore everything that the state does is contrary to libertarian principle."

    Napster,

    According to anarchist libertarian theory, the above is true. However, it is not true that everything done by the State is a per se NAP violation. Many things done by the State violate the NAP solely or mostly due to the nature of the funding (extracted by force) or by the exclusion of competition. Border management falls into this category. Absent the State, individuals and groups of individuals would have the right to manage access to their property, create criteria for access and hire agents to execute those policies.

    As long as States exist, they will pursue some sort of immigration policy. This will include border management and a host of other things (welfare, bilingual education programs, citizenship programs, access to housing and schools, etc… Most of which will be funded by taxation. In addition to this, States will prevent communities from adopting their own border policies, which according to anarchist theory, is a NAP violation. You insist on separating border management from the rest of immigration policy and believe that the libertarian principle is clear on this matter. It is not. Any State run immigration policy will produce NAP violations. BM and others quite reasonably believe that an open border policy will produce more NAP violations than a managed border policy.

    Of the things the Sate does, border management is less objectionable, on NAP grounds, than most of the other things it does. As described above, border management does not inherently violate the NAP. Given this, I do not understand the obsession with supporting open borders (which also produces NAP violations). As BM has tirelessly argued, there is no clear libertarian position here. As such, the issue concerns strategy much more than principle. I would rather focus on State policies and actions that are inherently unjust and contrary to libertarian theory. The list is nearly endless (use your imagination) and combating those things is good strategy and unambiguously in line with libertarian principle.

    Kind Regards,
    Jeremy

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  13. Jeremy:

    “As described above, border management does not inherently violate the NAP.”

    I don’t agree. First, as you note, the state expropriates resources from the private sector to fund its border management activities. Are you saying that if the state proposed to cut its border management expenditures, libertarians should object to the proposed government spending cut and advocate that these expenditures remain as they are (or perhaps even grow)? That seems to be an odd libertarian position. Second, the state’s border management activities also involve coercive regulations which interfere in the freedom of residents and immigrants to contract and associate. Third, just because “individuals and groups of individuals would have the right to manage access to their property, create criteria for access and hire agents to execute those policies” doesn’t lend legitimacy to state border management, because the agency notion breaks down completely when it comes to the state. I can’t hire an agent to protect your property according to my wishes, only my property, and if there are co-owners of property, under libertarian principles they must agree among themselves as to the border management policies; one cannot impose his wishes on the other. In addition, if one can hire an agent, one can also fire an agent, but the state cannot be fired nor can payment be withheld. More generally, it would be a rather strange libertarian principle to argue that the state is our agent.

    “BM and others quite reasonably believe that an open border policy will produce more NAP violations than a managed border policy.”

    I’m not sure I see how this is a reasonable belief. First, are we now relegated to quantifying NAP violations under a utilitarian points system? Who is so omniscient to do this quantification? And is it based on the number of violations, the dollars involved, or individual disutility (of course we cannot compare inter-personal utility)? Shouldn’t libertarians simply argue against all NAP violations rather than trying to do this incalculable quantification? Second, inaction by the state on border management does not “produce” a NAP violation (the circumstances when a failure to act can amount to a NAP violation are quite limited in the private sphere, and likely constitute the null set when it comes to the state). There is only a NAP violation when an immigrant (or a citizen) does such things as trespass on private property, initiate violence against another person or accept expropriated resources (welfare). To say that an immigrant MIGHT violate the NAP and, therefore, should be forcibly excluded in advance by the state, is akin to the gun-control crowd’s notion that, because a gun owner might illegitimately shoot someone, the state should forcibly prevent everyone from purchasing a firearm (and why not also argue for forcibly deporting citizens who might violate the NAP; why only immigrants?). I’m not denying that a private property owner can set pre-emptive policies of exclusion for his own property, but the state is not a legitimate private property owner nor, as noted above, a legitimate agent of any private property owner.

    Speaking for myself, I do not have “an obsession with supporting open borders,” but I am “obsessed” with opposing state action always and everywhere.

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    1. The NAPster,

      I would be happy to volunteer border services at no cost to others. I am sure millions of other people would be willing to do so too, especially since we would be directly saving ourselves collectively hundreds of billions of dollars (I estimate that 50% of our national budget goes towards maintenance of immigrants in my country).

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    2. Napster,

      “As described above, border management does not inherently violate the NAP.”

      Note the lack of the word "State" in the sentence. Note the reference to an earlier portion of the post where I make a distinction between State managed borders and privately managed borders. Note that I clearly describe the manner in which State managed borders violate the NAP. Now, please ask yourself whether anything you wrote is germane.

      You seem to respond to what you think is meant rather than what is written. No, I am not saying, "libertarians should object to the proposed government spending cut and advocate that these expenditures remain as they are". I meant what I wrote, not your strange interpretation of it. Such interpretive leaps of yours lead to fascinating conclusions. For instance, I was amused to learn that disagreeing with you about the supposed libertarian obligation to support open border policies means that I must also support forced sterilization. Hint: border management does not inherently violate the NAP, forced sterilization does.

      Yes, libertarians should be concerned about the nature and severity of State actions that violate the NAP. Such concern does not require omniscience or some bizarre utility point quantification. For instance, I am far more concerned about drug war policies, criminalization of consensual activities, State licensing requirements and aggressive war than I am about taxpayer funded libraries.

      Kind Regards,
      Jeremy

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    3. Jeremy:

      I apologize if I misinterpreted what you were saying about border management. You wrote as consecutive sentences “Many things done by the State violate the NAP solely or mostly due to the nature of the funding (extracted by force) or by the exclusion of competition. Border management falls into this category ,“ and then again as consecutive sentences “Of the things the Sate does, border management is less objectionable, on NAP grounds, than most of the other things it does. As described above, border management does not inherently violate the NAP.” So I assumed you were talking about state border management.

      As to the forced sterilization question I posed, this was not directed at you but rather at a particular argument I have seen made in this area. In support of state-managed borders, BM and others have argued that forcibly excluding those who are inimical to liberty is an important step to moving to a NAP-based society. In this sense, I cannot see how it is different from “state-managed population mix” (although I am open to hearing arguments to the contrary). But on that basis, I was asking why it makes a difference where the anti-liberty folks come from: immigrants, existing citizens, or new-born citizens? If one objective of state border-management is to control the number of those in society who don’t support traditional, western civilization, I was asking why, on the grounds of argumentative consistency, such a position shouldn’t also support deporting anti-liberty citizens and preventing the growth of the anti-liberty citizen population? What’s the argumentative difference between using state force to prevent an anti-liberty immigrant from entering, and using state force to (a) deport an anti-liberty citizen or (b) prevent an anti-liberty citizen from adding to the population? I was purposely pushing the envelope to try to better understand this rationale for state-managed borders.

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