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Immigration and Private vs. Public Property

Besides my issues regarding the “bad neighbor problem” in Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s recent speech at the Property and Freedom Society’s annual conference that I expressed in the previous post, I also have some issues with his statements on immigration and “public property.”

Here is the full speech by Hans Hoppe:

My first issue is Hoppe’s characterization of “fake libertarians,” at approximately 6 minutes into the video. In Hoppe’s view, a “fake libertarian” is one who “affirms or advocates one or more of” a list of several conditions, including “the necessity of a State, any State; of public or State property,” and including various rights, such as the “right to free and unrestricted immigration, which is the right to free trespassing.”

No, the right to “free and unrestricted immigration” is merely freedom of movement, freedom of travel and freedom of finding a better place to live and provide for oneself and one’s family, as long as one doesn’t trespass on private property. There’s no “fake libertarianism” there, in my view. I have more on that a little later.

Further into the speech, Prof. Hoppe enumerates 10 points, “specifics of a populist strategy for libertarian change, in no specific order except for the very first one, which has currently assumed the greatest urgency in the public mind.”

And that most urgent point of strategy? “Stop mass immigration.” Well, of course, stop any government-directed immigration (or deportation).

But in a free society we would have freedom of movement and travel. Private residents, businessmen, religious leaders and charity organizers would offer to help, house or employ newcomers, and be responsible for their involvement with the immigrants.

The reason chaos occurs with government-directed migration is because government bureaucrats are not accountable for their central-planning intrusions into society, because, when the government IS the law, its bureaucrats are above the law. Private people, “civilians,” well, that’s different. The rest of us are the slaves who must follow the government’s rules.

Unfortunately Hoppe gets into some confusion between private property and “public property,” and some of his “rights to exclusion” seem quite collectivist, in my view. He seems to advocate a public, collective right to exclusion, whereas the only legitimate right to exclusion is the private property owner’s right to exclusion, and the individual self-owner’s right to exclusion, and the right to inclusion as well.

For instance, Hoppe states: “In a fully privatized libertarian order there exists no such thing as a right to free immigration. Private property implies borders and the owner’s right to exclude at will.”

But he goes on to say that “’public property’ has borders as well.” Wait a minute, the “public property” borders he’s talking about are government-drawn borders, therefore they are not legitimate.

Hoppe states that public property “is not unowned. It is the property of domestic tax-payers and most definitely not the property of foreigners.”

I have some questions here, using the U.S. as an example. Just how did the taxpayers come to own such “public property”? Did they inherit the property? Was it by way of a voluntary contract? Or was such ownership imposed on them involuntarily along with the tax-thefts that were imposed on them involuntarily?

My answer is that, if there is any ownership at all of so-called public property, and he suggests the owners are the taxpayers, then of course such ownership is involuntary just as are the tax-thefts imposed on them. Therefore, such ownership is lacking in any moral justification.

Some further questions: Millions of undocumented workers’ presence and labor in the U.S. have not received proper bureaucrat-parasite authorization, but they have paid billions of dollars in federal taxes. And while some of their legitimate, honest earnings are withheld by employers to pay the feds the demanded booty, they are nevertheless ineligible for Social Security from those earnings. But they are “taxpayers.” Do they thus share in ownership of U.S. “public property”?

And also, do you divide ranks in “public property” ownership”? For instance, do very wealthy people have a higher percentage of ownership than lower-class workers, and thus have more ownership rights of control than the others? What if many wealthy progressive thinkers have a larger percentage of ownership/control, and want to have marijuana dispensaries, abortion clinics, etc. on “public property,” but a minority of the tax-payers disagree with that scheme? Is that legitimate?

When Hoppe says that public property is the “property of domestic tax-payers and most definitely not the property of foreigners,” what about domestic non-taxpayers? What about “citizens” (non-foreigners) who do work for a living, but don’t make enough to be required to have to pay income taxes? Are they denied rights of exclusion or inclusion because of this? So in other words, those who don’t pay the feds anything in tax-thefts should have the same denied rights of access to public property as the foreigners/non-“citizens”?

And also, it seems here in Hoppe’s justification of taxpayers’ involuntary ownership of public property he apparently, at least for this topic, accepts the State’s existence. Although he does admit that “the State is a criminal organization,” but its inaction regarding border control “will lead to even more and much graver injustices, in particular to the domestic citizenry.” Does Hoppe here seem to abandon his description of so-called “fake libertarians” at the very beginning of the speech, in which he says a “fake libertarian” is one who “affirms or advocates” “the necessity of a State” or “of public or State property”?

But regarding the taxvictims’ involuntary public property ownership and the lack of a contract to which they are bound in such alleged ownership, in the past Prof. Hoppe has stated the importance of the contract.

The state, as ultimate decision maker and judge, operates in a contractless legal vacuum. There exists no contract between the state and its citizens. It is not contractually fixed, what is actually owned by whom, and what, accordingly, is to be protected. It is not fixed, what service the state is to provide, what is to happen if the state fails in its duty, nor what the price is that the “customer” of such “service” must pay.

Rather, the state unilaterally fixes the rules of the game and can change them, per legislation, during the game.

In an interview, the interviewer asserted that “the state is based on a social contract…” And Hoppe replied,

No, the state is anything but the result of a contract! No one with even just an ounce of common sense would agree to such a contract. I have a lot of contracts in my files, but nowhere is there one like this. The state is the result of aggressive force and subjugation. It has evolved without contractual foundation, just like a gang of protection racketeers. And concerning the struggle of all against all: that is a myth. Of course the racketeer protects his victims on “his” territory from other racketeers, but only so he can conduct his own racket more successfully. Moreover, it is states that are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions of people and immeasurable destruction in the 20th century alone. Compared to that, the victims of private crimes are almost negligible.

Now back to Hoppe’s recent speech (as shown at the top), he states that “immigration must be by invitation only,” and that “immigrants must be productive people and hence, be barred from all domestic welfare payments.” But he gets into a lengthy discussion of his proposed rules that seem very central planning-like, in my view.

For instance, immigrants “or their inviting party must place a bond with the community in which they are to settle, and which is to be forfeited and lead to the immigrant’s deportation should he ever become a public burden.”

And with whom in the community will such a bond be placed? Who is to be in charge of that? What if a foreigner peacefully travels to the community and doesn’t give anyone a bond?

So are you saying that the immigrant is morally obligated to pay some third party some payment, without any voluntary, mutually-agreeable contract? What if he finds a room to rent or buys a home, who is it that owns the property? Does the individual landlord or property seller own the property, or does the community share in ownership of those properties? Is the entire community collectively owned by its inhabitants (regardless of separate private property parcels)?

It seems to me that Hoppe is suggesting that the community shares in ownership of property within the community. Not good.

In the just society, each property owner has full, 100% sovereignty over one’s property and its property title that he and only he may decide to whom to transfer, and he and only he may decide to whom to rent, and for whatever reason.

Hoppe continues: “As well, every immigrant, inviting party or employer should not only pay for the immigrant’s upkeep or salary, but must also pay the residential community for the additional wear and tear of its public facilities associated with the immigrant’s presence, so as to avoid the socialization of any and all costs incurred with his settlement.”

Who is going to decide how much “wear and tear” one immigrant has caused or might cause in the future? Who has the authority to charge the employer such a fee and decide how much to charge? Sounds very central-planning, if you ask me.

This all sounds very communal or “private club”-like to me, and seems to abandon the principles of private property and freedom of association. My neighbor doesn’t own my property and has no authority to dictate to me whom to let on my property, quite frankly.

And Hoppe continues: “Moreover, even before his admission, every potential immigrant invitee must be carefully screened and tested not only for his productivity but also for cultural affinity (or ‘good neighborliness’)…”

“Carefully screened”? By whom? The employer? Landlord? Prospective home seller? The community? Who will be in charge of this? Who owns the lives of the immigrants? Do they lose their self-ownership when moving to a new territory, even though they are peaceful and there’s no reason to think they might be a burden on the public? What if some family from a different area just moves into a home they’ve bought or rented and they don’t submit to screening, and there’s no reason to suspect them of not having “good neighborliness”? How about just letting property owners, businessmen and home sellers make those decisions, not by some some preset rules but by random events that take into account multiple, spontaneous factors? Whatever happened to Hoppe’s promotion of “Natural Order”?

So Hoppe’s “right of exclusion” seems to mean that the collective public may decide who gets in and who stays out. But how? By some sort of democratic vote? How else could a large group, such as U.S. taxpayers who supposedly own the public property, be able to come to a decision regarding who gets in and who stays out?

The true free market way is when an individual anywhere in the world who wants to make a better life for himself and his family travels to wherever he sees an opportunity, as long as he doesn’t violate the persons or property of another. He can rent a home or purchase one from a willing landlord or seller. And the property owner who rents out or sells a home is the owner, not his neighbors or the community.

I don’t see any moral obligation to pay the community some advance tribute, as the aforementioned family never entered into any contract with the “community,” only the employer, landlord or home seller, etc.

There is no collective ownership of an individual’s private property. The owner is sovereign over his own private property.

So Hoppe seems to abandon the individualist and free will/self-determination aspects of private property rights here, in my view.

And I know that Prof. Hoppe is obviously concerned about the cultural decline in society. If there is an “immigration problem” with immigration dysfunction contributing to the societal decline, then that is because of the involvement in immigration that the State has usurped for itself in its intrusions. So the answer to that problem is getting governments out of immigration matters.

And as Prof. Hoppe pointed out in his speech, it would also help to get rid of the welfare state, and the warfare state, too! In fact, as Hoppe noted, the warfare state is largely responsible for the mass migration of Middle Easterners to Europe. As Hoppe says, the U.S. government’s “ruling elites and their subordinate Western puppet-elites” must stop bombing and murdering people in foreign countries. Is that even possible?

In my view, the decline in civilization and culture is caused by governments intruding themselves into just about every aspect of everyday life. What needs to be done is abolishing all that criminal government meddling and intrusiveness to prevent such societal distortion and dysfunction.

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