Lew Rockwell has another article on the libertarian view on immigration. But the title of the article, “Open borders are an assault on private property,” has it backwards. It’s government borders and government-controlled borders that are an assault on private property, not just real estate private property but other forms of private property such as private contracts between and among traders, privately-owned businesses and so on.
Rockwell refers extensively to the writings of Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Murray Rothbard. I responded to Hoppe several times, in this article on immigration and private vs. public property, this one on immigration and Western culture, and on the right to remove “bad neighbors.” And I also responded to Jim Cox on the immigration/culture issue, and to Walter Williams and his extremely collectivist views on immigration.
The way I am perceiving the anti-“open borders” argument from Rockwell and Hoppe is that they assume some sort of communal ownership of an entire territory by, well not the entire population but by only a certain approved sector of the population, the “taxpayers,” and that the “taxpayers” are the owners of “public property,” and involuntarily. Which is irrational, in my view.
The idea that, because people have money and earnings taken from them by the government involuntarily to fund its control over “public property” (such as along the government border), and thus those victims of tax-thefts are the “owners” of such “public property,” involuntarily, is just illegitimate. I addressed all that in the above links.
For example, in this post responding to Hans-Hermann Hoppe, I wrote:
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?
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”?
So far, I have not seen any answers to those questions.
From my perspective, it seems to me that Rockwell and the anti-“open borders” libertarians have that assumption of some sort of collective, communal property ownership, of an entire territory, the “nation,” or country. He seems to be asserting that, as long as the federal government in Washington exists, as long as forced-wealth redistribution i.e. welfare exists, as long as anti-discrimination laws exist, we are stuck with all that and should just passively accept the government central planners’ control over who gets in “our” country (and who gets out!), accept the current police state, in other words.
These libertarian theorists don’t seem to spend as much time writing articles or making speeches on getting rid of the welfare state, anti-discrimination laws and the drug war, as much as they spend time on articles and speeches promoting government control over the government borders. The drug war is a major cause of trouble in Central and South America, and is what fuels the phenomenon of migrants fleeing the drug lords and turf wars, drug traffickers and sex traffickers.
One aspect of libertarianism, besides the non-aggression principle, self-ownership, freedom of association and freedom of non-association and private property, is individualism. The Declaration of Independence has it right when referring to the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those are rights of the individual. There are no group rights.
As long as an individual is being peaceful, you leave him alone. That’s the moral way to treat others. If you don’t suspect someone of violating the persons or property of others, leave him alone. Collectivists, on the other hand, believe in restricting the rights of whole groups, such as immigrants or Mexicans or Muslims, regardless of whether one is peaceful or not. Collectivists believe in group rights and group identity politics as well. “Only American citizens are entitled to work at this or that job in America.” Oh, so this American citizen over here is entitled to work at that business over there, even if a Mexican worker is more qualified? What if the business owner disagrees with you and wants to hire the worker? Guess what happens to him?
But exactly who owns the life of the individual? Who is the owner of a business in which the employer wants to hire a qualified, honest worker? Does the government in Washington own these people’s lives and businesses? If so, then control away, Mr. Bureaucrat.
No, the individual has a right to be free, has a right to be free from the aggression of others, and has a right to pursue happiness, and if each individual has those unalienable rights, then obviously no individual has the right to violate the same rights of any other in his pursuit of such happiness. That includes, “Don’t trespass on private property.”
But the idea that someone going into a territory that’s collectively owned (albeit involuntarily) by a particular group? He’s “trespassing”? That’s really a stretch. And so it’s okay that the government police arrest this otherwise peaceful person and arrest his new employer for hiring him as well, throw them in a cage, and so on?
Another problem with the anti-open borders libertarians is this nationalism stuff they seem to now be promoting. And the idea of “citizenship.” The current inhabitants of the territory and new arrivals need to have permission and authorization of criminal government bureaucrats to move about, to work somewhere, to rent or buy a home, to start a business and employ other workers. Everything must be centrally-planned and controlled by bureaucrats. That’s totally illegitimate and a criminal racket, in my view. It is a system of mass parasitism for misfits and thugs to get government employment in order to harass and tyrannize other people.
Another point that Rockwell makes is the importance of a country’s culture. But now we have a country, the U.S., that is so big, spanning hundreds of thousands of square miles and with a population of over 300 million people, it is impossible for such a country to consist of one particular culture. California is a culture in and of itself, for example.
America is just too big to be one single country, and it needs to decentralize. Otherwise, it will continue to collapse economically, culturally and socially. Look at all the fighting over a single prospective “Supreme” Court Justice. Why does an entire population of 300 million give so much power and control to a few corrupt imbeciles in Washington? Talk about irrational! But I digress.