Monday, October 19, 2015

Libertarians, Immigration, and Chateau Heartiste

I've written heaps about immigration in general and the libertarian position on immigration in particular. Just enter "immigration" on "Search this blog" on the upper right there, and you'll see. Libertarians also spend a lot of time and energy pointing out that the left-right axis is inadequate to express political/philosophical differences. Well, of course it's not adequate. The Nolan Chart isn't adequate, and even my Venn Diagram [link] isn't adequate. "Adequate" in this context means "enough to include everything," and of course the map isn't the territory and no paradigm could possible cover the whole range of political and philosophical stances.

But here's a one-dimensional axis that expresses quite a bit, and actually clarifies differences better than a two- or three- or however many-dimensional chart could: Theory on one side, and reality on the other. Most appropriately, put  theory on the left and reality on the right. And this is because, obviously, the left is much more interested in theory, aka intentions, than it is in reality, aka results.

Leftists like Jimmy Carter, for example, had a theory that a democratically-elected government with a franchise open to everybody is a good thing, better than anything short of that. Insisting on this got Mugabe elected President of Zimbabwe. The right argued that democracy might not be the best thing in this case, and, of course, they were right. And you'll agree, unless you think Mugabe is a good thing.

Liberals, then, as a rule, think that intentions/theory always trump results/reality. The right (and neocons are just a brand on liberal, BTW) is more interested in the latter.

The theory among many libertarians is that borders should be open to everybody, because anything else is immoral or something, and don't care at all what the results of open borders might be. Oh, they'll argue that the results will be great, because you can get cheaper lawn care, etc., but that's nonsense and the adults among them really know that they're lying. So, that brand of libertarianism is really indistinguishable from liberalism.

Libertarians should be looking to Jefferson, Mencken, and Coolidge for guidance in these matters, not Jaruzelski, Mao, and Castro.

Chateau Heartiste says this about that, from his site at [link]:

Why Most Libertarians Stupidly Embrace Open Borders

A core principle of libertarianism is the free movement of labor. On paper, this principle sounds admirable, even workable. That damned paper! Libertarians would have to betray a lot of what they believe in to accept that restrictions on the free movement of labor are advantageous, economically and culturally, for a nation’s well-being. Thus, they don’t. Instead, they pull an ostrich and ignore the negative externalities that mass immigration has brought to the USA. Free movement of labor is such an entrenched free market concept that many libertarians have taken to arguing that open borders is a natural, and moral, extension of the principle.
But when does free movement of labor across national borders as a concept break down? Three heretofore largely unexamined premises should enlighten those who believe the concept is trustworthy.
1. As Milton Friedman said, open borders and the welfare state cannot coexist. If one country offers a generous welfare package to all and sundry that immigrants cannot get in their own countries, they will happily cross unguarded borders to take advantage of the manna from government heaven. Who pays for this manna? Why, you, the productive libertardian citizen. There’s a word for your kind. Sucker.
2. Population group differences in human capital are real. If country A is filled with highly productive and intelligent citizens on average, and countries B, C and D are filled with less productive and less intelligent citizens on average, what do you think will happen when the bulk of countries’ B, C and D least productive citizens emigrate to country A? A libertarian in good standing will argue that those B, C and D immigrants will do the crappy jobs that need doing, and the natives who are displaced from those jobs will be incentivized to educate themselves and get better paying and higher status jobs. Hey great! Except what happens if those displaced native citizens, due to innate limitations, CAN’T DO MORE CHALLENGING JOBS? What you’ll get is what we are seeing today: a structural increase in the chronic unemployment rate. Bootstrap philosophy has been thoroughly discredited by the advancing scientific knowledge in genetics.
3. Evidence suggests political ideology is genetically imbued and thus mostly immutable. Latin Americans — specifically those of Amerindian ethnicity — consistently vote 2/3rds for Democrats and more state intervention. What do libertardians think will happen to their precious policy proposals when a 2/3rds majority of 50 million illegal migrants, continuing in perpetuity with their children and children’s children, vote for politicians who believe in the exact opposite of what libertarians believe? Does this really need spelling out?
Why do I give libertarians so much shit? I share an affinity with their worldview, so when they fuck up it inspires me to level the hammer of Thor on their blockheads. It’s like how you give your brother way more shit for fucking up than you would a stranger. Being of your blood, he should know better.
Quibcag: It's hard to find an anime illustration of a guy hitting his brother with Thor's hammer, so I had to settle for Akane hitting Ranma with a regular hammer, from Ranma ½ (らんま½).


  1. Leftists like Jimmy Carter, for example, had a theory that a democratically-elected government with a franchise open to everybody is a good thing, better than anything short of that. Insisting on this got Mugabe elected President of Zimbabwe.

    I don't think Carter was selling Democracy there. When you look at every foreign policy position he took with every country (during and after his term in office), he sided with the Communists. Every single time.

  2. Good point. "Democracy" was his excuse, not his reason.