Thursday, December 19, 2013

A libertarian case for immigration control

(Most libertarians advocate open borders)

I know a nice libertarian-socialist fellow named Mophery Rurbt. He has a household, let us imagine, consisting of three wives (well, he is a Mormon, and the Supreme Court has legalized polygamy), and four children.

One day at his door he finds a small Bangladeshi child, looking hungry, and saying he is come all the way across the world from Bangladesh, and has no place to stay. Mophery's family all consult together, and decide they can take him in. The little Bangladeshi child is overjoyed and becomes part of the Rurbt household.

One thing he does after joining that household is Facebook message all his friends back in Bangladesh, and tell them about this generous American who will take people in. Well, they Facebook message their friends, and so on, and about a week later...

Mophery wakes up in the morning to find Bangladeshis on his lawn. And beyond his lawn. In fact, as far as the eye can see (and this is pretty far, since Mophery lives on a tall hill) darn Bangladeshis struggling to advance towards his home. He learns that every single one of them expects him to take them in.

He locks his door, and shouts out the window that he will call the police if the horde tries to force its way in.

All, but now his fellow libertarian socialists hate him. "You're telling these people where they can go at the point of a gun."

The problem is that they don't see private property as legitimate, and thus don't see Mophery's efforts to stop his home from being overwhelmed and destroyed as a useful dwelling as legitimate. But Mophery has had a sudden awakening, and realizes that his household, to be a functioning unit, has to be able to control who may or may not join. If those who are not invited to join try to force their way in anyhow, the initial quote aggression" is on their part, not on his household's.

Nation-states, too, are functioning social units. If they are to remain functioning social units, they have to be able to regulate the influx of new members. It takes an ideology to occlude this rather obvious point, and make it look as though a group declining to invite someone in is somehow threatening them "at gunpoint."


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).

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