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Discussion point: have you kept the libertarian faith on freedom of movement?

The Independent reports, Let Us Vote: New campaign launched to give everyone living in UK the right to vote in elections

The “Let Us Vote” campaign, which has the backing of more than a dozen MPs and peers, is seeking new legislation to extend the voting franchise, which has not changed significantly since the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 in 1969

It has been launched by campaign groups the3million, representing EU nationals in the UK, British in Europe, which represents UK citizens in the EU, and anti-Brexit group Another Europe is Possible. The campaign says it is strictly neutral on Brexit and party politics.

In an open letter published in The Independent, supporters including MPs, peers, and NGO leaders wrote: “The outcome of the next few weeks in politics could determine the course of our lives for decades to come.

“But many of the people who are most affected by the current situation – migrants living in the UK, and UK citizens living abroad – have never been offered the chance to have a stake in our democracy.

“Whatever our views on Brexit and party politics, we are united in the belief that it is fundamentally wrong that so many millions of people whose lives will be deeply affected by developments at Westminster are currently denied a vote.”

The letter was signed by Labour MPs Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Clive Lewis, David Lammy and Stephen Doughty, plus Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran.

The “Let Us Vote” campaign’s own website is here.

What was your first thought upon reading this proposal? What would it have been ten years ago?

My first thought was this was David Lammy’s way of ensuring he never again loses another referendum. (My second was, “Leave campaign: use this on C2DE voters.”) Ten years ago I might have said, “It’s a difficult question”. I do not think I was ever unambiguously in favour of complete open borders on libertarian grounds but I knew plenty of people who were and I was open to persuasion. It was seen as one of the questions that sorted the committed Libertarians from the dilettantes. That, I think, is where my instinctive casting of the question in religious terms came from.

My impression is that my loss of belief in free movement of people is shared by many. Is it shared by you? Or have you kept your faith strong? Have you converted to this belief?

75 comments to Discussion point: have you kept the libertarian faith on freedom of movement?

  • Tom

    Absolute free movement yes, once the welfare state has been abolished. While someone living on full benefits in Britain is in the global top ten percent economically, our borders cannot be open.

  • The Sage

    In one of the very early internet political quizzes, this was the issue that made me not a complete libertarian. Freedom of association trumps freedom to barge in.

  • bobby b

    “What was your first thought upon reading this proposal?”

    Extend that right to all of the peoples of Pakistan, India, Somalia – heck, the entire world – but politely ask that those people only vote in your elections if they think they might want to consider studying the possibility of maybe someday moving to GB.

    Because if they might someday come, they certainly deserve a voice in how the country is readied for them.

    “It was seen as one of the questions that sorted the committed Libertarians from the dilettantes.”

    I’ve always considered myself to be a nationalist libertarian. “Libertarian”, to me, is a vector, not a destination, so I’ve never seen a conflict in holding to “maximum freedom within my own nation.” If I lived in a third-world country, I’d likely be more open-border-friendly.

  • As a UK citizen from birth, I have always been just a tad proud that so many people from the rest of the world want to come and live here. [And obviously this is not really the case for just the UK.] But…

    But what puzzles me is why these people don’t (in fact already have not) built something similar in the place where they started from. They do, after all, have an example – and know they like what they see – climate and natural resources might be an issue, but much of the world has climate that is not really worse (some better), and have even more natural resources (per capita). Though it would take time, they would surely get there soon enough or eventually. And the sooner their project be started, the sooner it would be finished – and with all the partial benefits on the way.

    And then it clicks.

    The click is that its the people; not the place. If they all came here (outnumbering, even if not replacing, the ‘natives’), they would ‘develop’ a country pretty much like the one they left behind.

    And rather than hissing, shouting and booing about the above view, how about working out what are the things that make the positive difference.

    And then make that positive difference effective in most people in other places!

    Best regards

  • mikesixes

    Nobody but net taxpayers should get a vote. That means no gov’t employees or retirees or welfare dependents. If you have a functioning brain and you live in a country that has a welfare system, you can’t favor open borders. Most of my Libertarian friends favor open borders along with the abolition of the welfare state, but the abolition of the welfare state is nothing but a fantasy, and therefore open borders are not even a possibility. I like Bobby B’s image of “Libertarian” as a vector rather than a destination, by the way. It describes a tendency towards freedom within the world as it actually exists.

  • Stonyground

    It is a good thing to be kind and charitable toward people who are less fortunate than you are. Unfortunately, there are an almost infinite number of people who will ruthlessly take advantage of you if you are.

  • Nullius in Verba

    I definitely have always seen free movement of people as the ideal and the ultimate goal. I’m in two minds as to whether there are other goals that need to be achieved first, before it’s feasible. On the one hand, there are many market distortions (like the welfare state) that would explode in our faces if you did this. On the other hand, that might be precisely the prod needed to force us to reform all those other distortions, too.

    “But what puzzles me is why these people don’t (in fact already have not) built something similar in the place where they started from.”

    It’s an excellent question! The best answer to that I’ve seen was the one in the economist Hernando DeSoto’s book ‘The Mystery of Capital’. He asks the question: Why does Capitalism only succeed in the West? How does it work? Why do attempts to transplant it abroad so often fail? His claim was that even we who live in the West don’t exactly understand how it works. 150 years ago we used to live like the third world does today, and had all the same sorts of problems. The system we use today evolved accidentally, without conscious design or understanding. We scarcely notice its most essential features, taking it for granted as just “the way things are”.

    He pointed out that the developing world has plenty of entrepreneurs, plenty of hard workers, plenty of resources, and even plenty of wealth. What it was missing was ‘Capital’, in the legal sense. The problem is that in the developing world it is nearly impossible to create long-range, long-term contracts, because of the sclerotic legal system. As an exercise, he tried to do simple operations like start a company or buy some land, things that take only a few days in the West, 100% legally. To comply with all the processes, some of these operations were still going months or years later. The system is rigged to make it impossible to comply with, without bribing the officials who make the rules, and whose livelihoods depend on their continuation. This splits the economy into two parts: the legal economy, and the black economy. All the people living on land they don’t legally own, in houses they don’t legally own, running businesses they don’t legally own, on handshake deals between people who know one another. Those businesses and properties are the accumulated wealth that we in the West can use to raise capital. But they, not owning them, cannot. The black economy cannot support contracts between distant strangers, or over decades of time. The legal economy they are shut out of. The bribes needed to operate at all bleed them dry, and perpetuate the system that keeps the barriers in place. Attempts at legal reform falter through being imposed rather than organically grown, misaligned with the implicit customs and conventions of business that real people use. It’s a vicious circle they’re stuck in.

    I don’t know for sure. I’ve not seen anyone argue successfully against his argument. But his recommendations haven’t resulted in any startling improvements where they’ve been applied, either. It’s a theory – like most of economics. 🙂

  • Stephen Houghton

    I have to say that while I favor open borders as policy, after the abolition of the welfare state, I have never thought it could be a matter of right. I mean has no one learned anything from colonialism?

  • neonsnake

    It’s a great question, and a very complex one!

    Ok, a bunch of thoughts:

    (disclosure first: Ms. Neonsnake is Argentinian, with a dual Italian passport, and her and her sister are living in the UK with me on the basis that they’re EU citizens with freedom of movement)

    First, and foremost: what do you think it might take for someone to uproot their life, and move to another country in order to live there? Hint: it ain’t for welfare. You leave your family, your friends, your way of life, your country, and move somewhere where you aren’t you can get a job and a home? It’s because the country you live in is SO SHIT that somewhere else looks better.

    So, please forget the “they’re here for the welfare” thing. Or, failing that, tell me how exactly she gets the mansion in Chelsea that she’s apparently owed. That would be awesome.

    So, secondly, to be clear, these are the rules: you can vote in local elections, but not general. Just in case anyone doesn’t know. Also, they couldn’t vote in the EU referendum.

    At the time, we were all ok with this. Lots of talk and discussion, most of which revolved around the promises that had been made that any EU citizen already here would be able to stay (if anyone has a problem with that promise, they can do one). This was lawful, and also humane. And if you’re surprised that they were ok with me voting Leave, then you don’t know a lot about Argentina (which is fine, incidentally). Now, should they have been allowed to vote? No. None of us thought so. It would have skewed the vote. We accepted this, but only because we understood that the vote wouldn’t affect them – which it shouldn’t, since they were lawfully allowed to be here.

    Theresa May then reneged on those promises and used them as bargaining chips. It was January this year before they were clear that they would be allowed to stay. And I’m still not 100% convinced that TM won’t reverse that decision.

    So far so good?

    Should they be allowed to vote in General Elections? Yes. They live here (BY LAW), so yes.

    But, that’s a very different conversation to “should we have open borders?”

    So, addressing that: Yes, in an ideal world, we’d have open borders. But we don’t live in an ideal world. So, no, not right now.

    There’s a whole load of stuff that needs addressing, before we can commit to all the libertarian ideals. I said elsewhere – you can’t just say “Libertarianism starting in 3, 2, 1, days! Go!” because the world would collapse.

    Open borders is one of those things.

    Until we address everything else, no. No open borders. We allow those who legally moved here under EU rules to live here with all the rights that they had in 2015, because otherwise we’re inhumane assholes. But nothing beyond that.

    Meanwhile, we take small, but inexorable, steps towards a sustainable libertarian state. As an example of how I feel – what we don’t do in “3, 2, 1” days is to remove the Welfare State. I understand that will make me unpopular here, but it would be insanity to do so (let alone inhumane in the extreme, since it would condemn a whole tier of people to poverty), but it’s also sensible if we want something that won’t get voted out in the next election.

  • I support Brexit in spite of the fact it will reduce freedom of movement with Europe, not because of it.

  • Agammamon

    If you got one vote for every pound of *net tax* you paid in – this might not be a horrible idea.

    But the very people who would scream blue murder at the thought of ‘the rich and corporations’ having an ‘outsized say’ in government (and really, would it do anything except move the money spent lobbying into the tax receipt ledger?) for some reason have no problem with the people the rich and the government are paying off having an outsized say in government.

  • Ellen

    I do not especially like quite a few of the people who want to come, illegally, across the border into the USA. Worse, quite a few of them do not especially like me. Worse still, most of them are poor and expect me to support them.

    (I obviously am buying into the masses-of-people thing here. If I tried to avoid that, each individual coming into the country would have to be individually vetted. Surprisingly enough, this is the process of legal immigration.)

    At this point, I think this makes me a minarchist. I don’t want anarchy, and far too many libertarians are more into the dream than the reality. I live in reality; if I want a dream, I’ll write a book.

  • Schill McGuffin

    @neonsnake — I’m not sure the folks citing welfare were pointing to it as a motivation. Rather they’re pointing out that it makes free immigration untenable.

    Like The Sage, I consider being able to leave a nation to be a basic liberty, but not being able to enter one — that seems perfectly consistent to me with a respect for property rights. So open borders have never been part of my libertarian ideology either. Some libertarians may consider open borders to be a litmus test for commitment, just as others may think that about privatization of basic public services (like police, fire, and infrastructure). Pissing contests about who’s more libertarian than whom are one of the burdens under which our cause labors. I’m very much in bobby b‘s camp here.

  • Whatever our views on Brexit and party politics, , we are united in the belief that it is fundamentally wrong that so many millions of people whose lives will be deeply affected by developments at Westminster are currently denied a vote.

    Since (“whatever their views on Brexit and party politics” 🙂 ) they are united in not thinking it a fundamental wrong to void a vote whose outcome they dislike, how could anyone be fundamentally wronged by being denied the worthless thing they would have a vote become?

    Just how fundamentally can these non-citizens be wronged, or us treated aright, when those at Westminster act more as if the outcome of a certain vote were what it would have been if they had had one than what it was?

    If 3M discard “le plebiscite de tous les jours” that bulwarks a nation, instead defining the electorate as whatever group suits them, why would we obey the resulting winner, instead of whoever won within however we defined the electorate?

    If citizenship means nothing to those who rule me, why should its duties mean anything to me?

    If Nigel Sedgwick (April 11, 2019 at 6:15 pm) is right (I think he is), will not any country that elevates itself soon be visited by enough arrive-and-promptly-vote migrants to vote out whatever policies made it better and return it to the world’s norm?

    In short, I’m not sure 3M have thought this through fully. But I’m fairly sure they’re not bothered, as I think they are merely virtue-signalling (for now).

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Niall Kilmartin,

    I was spooked by the line “Whatever our views on Brexit and party politics…”. Sure, I could see it was an attempt to pretend that the people pushing for this aren’t all hard Remainers, but could they actually have thought anyone would fall for it? Would anyone fall for it? Gulp.

  • Private property, at some point, requires a limit on free movement. It doesn’t track perfectly, but we can at least figure unilateral immigration would be akin to trespass. There would have to be some way for private property owners in a country to agree to who is coming in and how to deal with any potential liabilities.

    But we see the lie now. The left, and perhaps just the bureaucracy in general, is attempting to replace the old voters with new ones in order to avoid accountability. They aren’t interested in real solutions to any problem. i wonder how many of them realize they deserve jail, or perhaps worse?

  • Albion's Blue Front Door

    “have never been offered the chance to have a stake in our democracy”

    Sheer wibble claptrap. The Brexit business currently being dragged out indefinitely by a handful of elites largely voting for self-interests in parliament has shown that meaningful democracy doesn’t exist. In short, you can vote however you want but it will have no effect on the real decision-makers. Those in power will do what they want, but thanks for thinking your little X makes a difference.

    So if giving people ‘ a stake in our democracy’ means nothing, then it’s all fine to make noise about it but do nothing. Statements like that are just wibble claptrap and like our votes, there to be ignored as necessary.

  • morsjon

    Echoing August, if all property were private, where do these open borders actually lead to? The fact is that public property is private property, owned by the natives. Immigration in the West is entirely akin to our rulers telling you that you need to invite a stranger into your house.

    Is there a moral case for leveraging the capital of the west to alleviate property? Maybe, but that is a different question.

  • Itellyounothing

    Surely the right to vote in how a country is run, requires membership of and loyalty to the country in question. If you can’t be called on to spend you life for the tribe, you have no business making laws over the tribe.

    Living amongst us with limited rights is our gift to you, not some right you have over us?

    The right to associate with those you choose has to out weight the right to go where you please. Civilisation is where man and woman bled to hold back the chaos beyond. What equal entry fee has some other paid?

    The problem with pure libertarian thought on this topic is exactly the same as pure socialist thought. You have to make rules ones the human mind can accept as fare and right.

    If your ancestors and my ancestors fought and died for our freedom, it fits neatly in the space between our ears that we are tribe.

    If a neighbour (whose ancestors fought with mine) brings in a wife from a far off land, this is good, for it diversifies the tribe like iron becoming steel, with a few additives.
    If the iron is overwhelmed by the additives, it is merely ore again that must once more be worked to bind it together strongly.

    Nations are really big tribes. In the back of every human skull is the knowledge that tribes demand payment in blood to join.

    Countries can get bigger and stronger over time as blood is spilled together and differing peoples are tied together, but if those ties are weak, the nation forged collapses, like many great nations have done and will do.

    The EU will collapse, the USSR is already gone, the Roman Empire fell long ago.

    The secret to an enduring nation is steady but small changes. A bit of migration is very healthy, to little will leave you insular and behind, too much and you have nothing to hold you all together in difficult times.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    The real world can offer us examples. There is free movement of people between States in the US. Many citizens in California concerned about the growth of Left Wing extremism in that formerly Golden State have taken advantage of free movement to move to other States. Colorado has been a favored destination, leading to the issue of what Coloradans refer to as “Californication”. Sadly, those renegade Californians carry the Leftist disease with them. It was only a matter of time before transplanted Californians started to notice the lack of bike paths in Colorado, and vote accordingly … and things have been going downhill ever since.

    Since this occurs with the movement of people whom outsiders would see as homogenous “Americans”, it is quite clear that mass movement of people (voters) from more distinctly different cultures will change a society. Which is OK if the current residents want to accept that change.

    Niall K: “If citizenship means nothing to those who rule me …”.

    Gold Star to Niall for first mention of the concept of citizenship. We can’t talk about open borders and voting without an understanding of what are the responsibilities of citizenship which go along with the right to vote.

  • Behind Enemy Lines

    I’ve always viewed libertarianism as a preferred way of life, not as a practical political philosophy. Because it simply cannot succeed (any more than socialism could) in a world with so many bad, corrupt and stupid people, except perhaps in small groups or jurisdictions. ‘Jurisdiction’ meaning here a defined physical space with its own law and a border around it to keep out the hordes.

    Since we don’t get to live in an ideal world, I have always preferred small, tightly-managed immigration and refugee policies focused mainly on the benefit to current citizens.

    In present circumstances (dating back to the 60s in the UK and the US), it is absolute madness to support open borders, or even ‘opener’ borders than we already have. That simply helps the various left-wing parties toward their goal of a replacement population permanently backing a one-party state.

    Open borders doesn’t mean Libertaria, it means Africa.

    To me, understanding that fact is the defining line between the ‘committed’ and the dilettantes.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Echoing August, if all property were private, where do these open borders actually lead to?”

    It would mean foreigners who bought land in Britain would be allowed to come and live on it.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    I personally tend to be sympathetic to the idea of free movement, but I also recognize that that a lot of people see the propaganda that our worses (or, our self-styled betters) in the Beltway Class or whatever your country’s equivalent would be cram down our throats, and see that the daily reality in no way corresponds to that propaganda. Meanwhile, the Beltway Class continues to engage in proof by assertion that anybody who doesn’t accept their propaganda is a bigot and they’re the broad-minded virtuous ones.

    It’s this attempt to suppress thoughtcrime that has led to the rise of populism, but the governing class’ response is to try to suppress even harder.

  • JohnW

    The Biraderi system of voting for tribal leaders is something I can live without.

  • Tomsmith

    There can be no freedom, no safety, no democracy, no Western culture (no “libertarinism”), without nations and borders.

    Open borders, globalism, and one world government all fundamentally undermine democracy and the freedom of people and peoples to be different; to affirm particular preferences.

    In a world without borders, rarefied ideas like libertarianism, and even liberty, will be crushed beneath the feet of forever needy millions, as the tools of our open societies are used against us, until we are gone.

    This is why most people see that the libertarian position is not one that can ever really exist in the world.

  • Nullius in Verba

    JohnW,

    Don’t we already use The Old Boys Network to elect our leaders? I’ve heard that you don’t get picked as a party candidate without the right connections.

  • Paul Marks

    What has freedom of movement got to do with a “right to vote”?

    A sudden jump from “right” as in an absence of state restrictions, to a “right” meaning POLITICAL POWER (the “right” to loot the income and wealth of other people – and the “right” to impose endless regulations upon them).

    As for people who say “we just want freedom of movement – not government benefits and public services”, well that claim was put to the test by Proposition 187 (if I have the number correct) in California some years ago.

    The people voted to restrict some (not even all) government benefits and “public services” in relation to what illegal immigrants could get.

    Now of the “pro freedom” open borders crowd were sincere they would have SUPPORTED Proposition 187 – instead ALL HELL BROKE LOSE “racist, racist, racist” came the cry. And the unelected pet judges of the left struck down Prop 187 – and that led to the endless WELFARE immigration that has destroyed California.

    Lastly, if this is really about “freedom” – why are so many of the organisations that control the “Open Borders” movement controlled by (well funded) MARXISTS? Since when has Marxism been about freedom?

    The Marxists (who now dominate much of the Democratic Party and other left of centre parties in the West – including in Britain) see unlimited immigration as a gain in two ways – endless government spending to bankrupt “capitalist society” (the Cloward and Piven approach) and NEW VOTERS to replace the existing population – people who will vote (legally – or ILLEGALLY).

    I do not think it is libertarian to back the destruction of the “capitalist” West – even if the morons who control much of “Big Business” do fund the Marxist “open borders” movement, partly out of hope for cheap labour, partly out of general “Social Justice” lunacy.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “a “right” meaning POLITICAL POWER (the “right” to loot the income and wealth of other people – and the “right” to impose endless regulations upon them).”

    So should ANYONE have a right to vote?

    The argument is that if you pay taxes you should have a say in how high they will be and what they’re to be spent on. If you’re subject to regulations you should have a say in what they are. Foreigners who live here pay taxes and are subject to our regulations. Why should they have any less of a say than anyone else?

    When women were given the vote, what arguments were used to make the decision? Perhaps the principle invoked would be useful, here.

    “Lastly, if this is really about “freedom” – why are so many of the organisations that control the “Open Borders” movement controlled by (well funded) MARXISTS?”

    Yeah! Where the hell are the LIBERTARIANS, and why aren’t they leading this march?! 😉

  • biff

    Libertarianism should not be a suicide pact.

  • Marius

    Absolute free movement yes, once the welfare state has been abolished

    The problem with this is, if a Western nation ditched welfare and opened its borders, it would be swamped by 3rd world immigrants within a month. The numbers alone make this inevitable – look at the population growth predictions for Africa.

    It may be true that there are immigrants who came to the West because they saw it as an easy mark. filled with juicy benefits, but the millions that would descend on us in the case of truly open borders would just think “It looks better over there, I want some of that.”

    The initial rush would falter, after footage of chaos and looting had made it on to African TV stations, but it would be too late by then.

  • Itellyounothing

    No, the argument for votes is are you prepared to fight, toil and possibly die for your country.

    Taxes and regulations are just minor aspects of the higher duty of blood and sweat. Mere compliance with law and custom is not enough.

    Civilisation happens in spaces forced between chaos and is paid for in blood.

  • Itellyounothing

    And when European nations brought Europe to the developing world, it made temporary progress but killed many and cost a lot in the process. So best not do that again…..

  • Tomsmith

    “Foreigners who live here pay taxes and are subject to our regulations. Why should they have any less of a say than anyone else?”

    Because they are our enemies who only wish to take from and eventually supersede us.

    “When women were given the vote, what arguments were used to make the decision? Perhaps the principle invoked would be useful, here.”

    Giving the vote to everyone has been an unmitigated disaster for Western culture. When the result of increased “freedom” (to vote, to move; actually entitlement rather than liberty) is decreasing my actual freedom, then it is not a freedom I recognise as valuable or good.

  • Stuart Noyes

    How many millions of people live in Africa or Asia that would come here if we had no borders? What would the population in the UK be?

    The Chartist cause asked the question, if we are all called on by the state to possibly fight and die for our country, shouldn’t we have a say in how it’s run? So if people want the vote, they should swear loyalty to the state and be prepared to lay down their lives for it if asked.

  • The Fyrdman

    No. I did indeed espouse the easy line “as long as we get rid of the welfare state open borders are fine”. I say easy because it would never happen so I didn’t need to consider the consequences. I could say radical things like my other student friends whilst still being a unique libertarian snowflake.

    Now I realise my underlying assumptions were mistaken. I, without realising it, was a cultural relativist. I also assumed that people wanted liberty. I also assumed that our own culture was relatively strong in its core principles. All of these things are false. Some cultures are better than others – not just marginally but by vast degrees. Most people do not want liberty – they enjoy it’s fruits but are terrified by the risk and responsibility that comes with it that when you offer them an excuse to strip them of some many will say yes. And our core principles are under threat because while we, for now, have the institutions of liberty most don’t know what they are for. Like barbarians arriving in civilization we will happily pull apart the aquaducts, roads and libraries to put temporary roovea over our heads.

    And if my assumptions are falso, then open borders are not viable. Liberty can only be sustained through authoritarian policy enforcing it (Singapore) or by the cultural pressure to sustain it. As much as I admire Singapore I don’t want to go the one party state route. Which means we need to rebuild our self belief which cannot happen whilst we allow millions of people to arrive here each decade that do not share our beliefs.

  • pete

    I’ve never favoured freedom of movement.

    And neither has the EU.

    It erects immigration barriers against the 95% of people on the planet who do not live in it.

    Remainers who claim to be pro-immigration never complain about this while they often moan bitterly about the UK’s post Brexit immigration plans.

  • neonsnake

    No, the argument for votes is are you prepared to fight, toil and possibly die for your country.

    Taxes and regulations are just minor aspects of the higher duty of blood and sweat. Mere compliance with law and custom is not enough.

    My understanding of the draft system in the US is that this is indeed the case – immigrants are as liable for the draft as anyone else. In the UK, we don’t have such a system, so it’s a bit of a moot point. Conscription and national service don’t exist anymore; so from a technical perspective, none of us in the UK who are not in the Forces can be assumed to be prepared to fight, or possibly die for our country.

    On the other hand, I could say that if someone has a job, and is paying taxes, then they are showing that they are prepared to “toil” for their country – immigrants included – and I’m firmly with the Sons Of Liberty on taxation and representation.

  • Never wholly separate in your mind the merits of any political question from the men who are concerned in it. You will be told that If the measure is good, what have you to do with the character and views of those who bring it forward. But designing men never separate their plans from their interests, and if you assist them in their schemes, you will find the pretended good in the end thrown aside or perverted, and the interested object alone compassed, and that perhaps through your means. (Edmund Burke, letter to Dupont on the French Revolution, November 1789)

    Gail Heriot on Instapundit recently noted some examples of this happening to those who collaborate with Dems. An example on this side of the pond of an attempt to ‘throw aside or pervert’ a promised good may perhaps occur to readers (please feel free to say you find the phrase “designing men” insufficiently ‘inclusive’ 🙂 ).

    While abstract discussions on freedom of movement in some hypothetical nearer-to-libertarian state have their interest, I think it well worth noting the real intent of those who bring forward this measure, and therefore the real effect of giving 3M even the time of day.

    I’ve never favoured freedom of movement. And neither has the EU. It erects immigration barriers against the 95% of people on the planet who do not live in it. (pete, April 12, 2019 at 8:07 am)

    True in formal law, but while the EUrocrats are sometimes willing to enforce those laws (e.g. against Coptic Christian communities fleeing real danger of elimination), when it comes to keeping out persistent economic migrants from the same area, they have often chosen to follow their PC beliefs, not the law – another example of pretence versus reality.

  • Eric

    I never considered absolute freedom of movement part of being a libertarian. People have the right to choose with whom they wish to associate. Even in a purely theoretical world you could only do it after abolishing the welfare state, and even if by some miracle you were able to do that it’s likely the newcomers would vote it right back into existence.

    In the real world… you can’t even leave the EU, which is a trifle compared to the herculean task of getting your fellow citizens to stop reaching into your pocket.

  • Tomsmith

    Democracy itself is incompatible with freedom.

    When alien people can move unimpeded into our territory and vote themselves access to our property, then the supposed freedom it brings becomes an absolute sham.

  • Tomsmith

    Nation and people are real things. Those coming to Europe prefer the wealth and opportunity of our relatively open societies to the poverty of their own, but will always choose their own culture and societal norms in the longet term.

    Culture is a product of biology, and vice versa. European people create the kind of culture where nice but basically unworkable ideas like libertarianism can even be considered.

  • Tomsmith

    Other people from different cultures simply do not care in the same way about this kind of idea.

    They absolutely will eat the eggs laid by the European golden goose, before eating the goose herself, and then reverting back to the kind of drab and pointless existence that has defined most of human life on Earth since the beginning, and which has only ever been pushed back in that small place know as Europe.

  • Culture is a product of biology, and vice versa

    Pure & utter unscientific blood & soil bullshit.

  • “Culture is a product of biology, and vice versa” (Tomsmith, April 12, 2019 at 9:12 am)

    And vice versa? Biology is a product of culture? Rachel Dolezal was right to regard herself as a negro since she had absorbed black culture (or at least that version of it her PC mind believed in)?

    What an impeccably PC sentiment, Mr Tomsmith. 🙂

    Had the sentence I quote been only its first clause, I would have quoted Orwell on the mere negativity of the left of his day (“so that ‘enlightened opinion’ is usually just whatever is the inverse of Tory policy” – quoted from memory) and I would have suggested not imitating ‘enlightened’ methods any more than ‘enlightened’ beliefs (quite apart from the fact that the PC love it when anyone does – “Please let my enemies sound more like my caricature of them” is their unconscious prayer). Political correctness harms us all but it is especially debilitating to those it patronises. Thomas Sowell says he was lucky to grow up when he did – when old prejudices that held back negroes in the past were dying and before the new PC prejudices that would hold them back in the future had replaced them. The excuses of the PC are worthless but the excuse “that group is harmed even more than ours by the PC” has content (I suggest Charles Murray’s “Losing Ground” as one possible source) and we should not be the ones to deny it – or to talk as if its effects on them don’t dominate what we see today, and so impact how we can reason about it as data.

    I am not here talking about the contrast between the pretend world the PC talk about and the real world we see, still less the eggshells they demand you walk on when you comment on it. I’m talking about how the impact of PC is part of that real world – part of that contrast. Venezuela is a huge contrast to the promises of Socialism and Socialism is a huge part of the reason why it is such a contrast.

    But with the addition of “and vice versa”, Tomsmith is certainly occupying new ground in this debate – or new to me, at least. 🙂

  • AFT

    Perhaps what Tomsmith means by his and vice versa is the idea that those who exhibit traits that are highly valued in a given culture will tend to be more successful in propagating their genes than others.

    (Please note: I’m only suggesting that this is what he might mean. I’m not agreeing with him.)

  • morsjon

    I bet many Remoaners (and I do not mean all Remain voters – just the moany liberal ones) would be cool with open borders to Europe AND the rest of the World (or at least, more open borders to the rest of the world).

    Conversely, I bet many Leavers (and this includes myself) would be cool with open borders for skilled and Western and white people (and I’m not saying this because my wife and I hav arguments regularly).

    I think most Leavers would be content if Theresa May offered the EU free movement of labour for EU citizens, subject to a minimum income threshold (say £30K -£40K p.a.). I think this is a pretty easy thing to give for the UK (in return for something else).

    NiV – in response to your comment on my comment. I’d be happy for somebody to be allowed to immigrate if they bought their property. Of course, they cannot then leave their property, and I’m not sure how they would get to it.

  • the other rob

    Never mind freedom of movement, in recent years I’ve become dissatisfied with the universal franchise for citizens.

    I’ve seen too many dodgy bond issues, where the pro side has gone out and actively targeted the unproductive, literally saying “Vote Yes, it won’t cost you anything as somebody else will have to pay for it”.

    I’m sick of watching the thieves at the top conspiring with the layabouts at the bottom to take my wealth, nay my livelihood, from me and piss it away on crap. This is, of course, much of government in general.

  • Rob Fisher

    I want freedom of movement between all countries. I also want the state to be very limited in power. I think this is possible eventually, partly because I think a culture of personal responsibility (as opposed to clamouring for the state to do things) can be self-sustaining. I don’t know what order to do things in to achieve this.

  • Rob Fisher

    “I’d be happy for somebody to be allowed to immigrate if they bought their property. Of course, they cannot then leave their property, and I’m not sure how they would get to it.”

    If everything really was private property, there would be no immigration policy for the state to make. Owners of ports and roads are unlikely to turn away well-behaved paying customers.

    “public property is private property, owned by the natives […] our rulers telling you that you need to invite a stranger into your house”

    Notice that “the natives” are more than one person and they may not all agree with each other.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Freedom of movement will always be restricted, even a minimalist government is responsible for the safety of it’s citizens and needs to keep out the dangerous and criminal elements.

    The only question is where the line is drawn, you can have freedom of movement with a generous welfare state, but then restricted to exclude those whose sole intent is to take advantage of the welfare state (not that I am condoning a generous welfare state).

    I suppose there is the ultra-libertarian point of view to let in everyone including the dangerous ones and then prosecute them _after_ they’ve caused a severe criminal act, but that’s the line I’d probably be slightly beyond, although this does mean having a government that is clear and not ambivalent about who it considers “dangerous” (which is another discussion).

  • Fred Z

    I am with August, Morsjon et all.

    I’ll be for free movement of people into my country, Canada, when the free movement aficionados allow me free movement into their homes, including their bedrooms, pantries and wine cellars.

    A nation is owned by its citizens and it takes a lot of damn nerve for a small noisy claque to offer to give parts of it away.

    This actually happening here and in the USA. We have laws on immigration which the elites, a small group of assholes, have simply instructed the police to ignore. To their eternal shame the police have accepted those instructions.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Freedom of movement will always be restricted, even a minimalist government is responsible for the safety of it’s citizens and needs to keep out the dangerous and criminal elements.”

    Then should we not also deport native-born people if they’re criminals, too? We used to do that whole ‘Transportation to Australia’ thing, after all…

    Same with the welfare state. Why is it OK for native-born people to take advantage of it?

    Same with wanting only the skilled workers – should the unskilled native-born be deported too?

    Same with culture – if your customs are not those now approved by the state, even as a native-born, you get exiled? (Happened a lot during the Protestant/Catholic wars…)

    If we try to set non-nationalist criteria for who we want in our country and who we want excluded from it, to apply them consistently we would have to apply the same criteria to the native-born, and we suddenly realise that we’re quite happy with the unproductive and the alternative, so long as that includes us. The main point about nationality is that it doesn’t require any effort or merit on our part to be included. We’re automatically ‘in’. But there’s nothing about the precise location of one’s birth per se that has any bearing on our economic or moral merit. It’s just a convenient category that means we’re in for free and all that other lot are out, unles they earn it.

    How about a country where only productive libertarians are allowed to stay? (Let’s call it ‘Galt’s Gulch’.) You gain entry through your beliefs and your productive labour. Anyone with the right beliefs can come. Anyone with the wrong beliefs must go. And there’s no welfare state to pose a problem. Would that work?

  • morsjon

    Notice that “the natives” are more than one person and they may not all agree with each other.

    Yes, a bit like shareholders in a company. I’d have qualified majority voting (or even unanimous less 1) rather than majority voting though.

    I’ve thrown in the towel on immigration. It is and probably always will be a matter for the state, and as long as the state is in charge of our roads and public spaces the best we can hope for is that the Government does actually take action in accordance with the wishes of the population.

    In general I’ve started to feel in a similar way about lots of things. Fighting for a voucher system for schools or an insurance based health care system is all very well but given an either/or choice I’d rather have a state school system purged of marxists than a private one with them. There is of course a link….but no shortage of marxists in private institutions like Harvard.

  • bobby b

    How about a country where only productive libertarians are allowed to stay? (Let’s call it ‘Galt’s Gulch’.) You gain entry through your beliefs and your productive labour. Anyone with the right beliefs can come. Anyone with the wrong beliefs must go. . . Would that work?”

    Socialism will only work when everyone within its ambit holds it beliefs to heart. Libertarianism will only work when everyone within its ambit holds it beliefs to heart. They’re both unattainable states, and thus are better viewed as vectors – as directions, trends, aspirations.

    The impregnable boundaries around Galt’s Gulch were always superficially an incredibly non-libertarian concept – but even Rand recognized that they were essential to attaining a Libertarian society.

    And, in fact, they were a more libertarian concept than the absence of boundaries, because to posit society without those boundaries would be a tacit admission that the entire world would have to be forced into a system of thought antithetical to many – Libertarianism – in order for it to work.

    If you can’t rid the world of anti-libertarian impulse, then which is the more liberty-facing concept: to force anti-libertarians into Libertarianism, or to divide the world into areas in which people could practice their chosen system? My guess is that Rand chose the latter.

    So, while a nationalistic libertarianism contains contradictions, it contains fewer than does a global libertarianism. In a global system, it’s my way or the highway. In a system divided by national boundaries, it’s my system here, and pick your own in your own home.

  • Nemesis

    I’ve often said that you can have a welfare state and political correctness or you can have open borders but you cant have both.
    I would also maintain that you would have to live here 10 years with a clean record before applying for full citizenship and its attendent rights.

  • ragingnick

    As Stefan Molyneux has said ‘culture is downstream from race’,
    open borders are necessarily fatal to liberty as it is only in a society composed demographically of certain peoples that a classically liberal order can thrive.

    Luckily more and more libertarians such as Molyneux and Lauren Southern are coming to understand this.

  • Jim

    “Foreigners who live here pay taxes and are subject to our regulations. Why should they have any less of a say than anyone else”

    Simple – the ownership of a foreign passport gives them the right to leave, for somewhere else, who must accept them. As a British only passport holder I have nowhere to go as of right. Yes some place may currently take me, but that is in their gift to deny as well. So if you can run away when things get tough, then you shouldn’t have a say in how things are run IMO. Where that leaves dual passport holders is less clear, but for UK citizen vs foreign citizen (with leave to stay) the position is quite simple. You want a say – join the club formally. I suppose its a bit like coming to a golf club and paying for a round as a non-member – if you want to have a say who the club captain is, join up, then you get a vote.

  • The notion ‘culture is downstream from race’ has no basis in reality but the notion does indeed strongly reflect the metacontextual underpinning of European strains of anti-Semitism & other racist absurdities. Culture is ‘downstream’ from history.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Our host said of Tomsmith’s assertion ‘Culture is a product of biology, and vice versa.’ “Pure & utter unscientific blood & soil bullshit.”

    Let’s not be too hasty. Maybe it is unscientific bullshit, maybe not. It might be good to ask Tomsmith to clarify what he meant.

    Some serious people assert that the success of Western culture is a consequence of a higher average IQ in the population, which would be biology. Of course, the same assertion of higher IQ could also be claimed to be the cause of early Chinese civilization. But the subsequent 500 year backwardness of China until the early 1900s shows that culture involves more than biology.

    As for biology being a product of culture — is that not simply a restatement of Darwin’s survival of the fittest? Inuit were not sitting around the African veldt when someone had the idea of migrating to a land of snow and ice. As African human beings slowly migrated north, they developed a culture which allowed them to survive in those new conditions and that culture influenced the genes which got passed on (and did not get passed on) to their progeny, turning Africans into Inuit.

    Certainly, culture/biology interaction is a very slow multi-millennial process. Aspects of culture can change very quickly — biology can not.

  • neonsnake

    if you want to have a say who the club captain is, join up, then you get a vote.

    And if I don’t like the result, I still get to leave, in the golf club analogy 😉

    Over-pedantry aside, I think you present a strong argument. I will still hang my hat on “no taxation without representation”, and say that by paying taxes to a government, you have in effect joined the club, and should get a say in how those taxes are spent, but I can see your point of view.

  • Katy Hibbert

    Theresa May then reneged on those promises and used them [“EU citizens”] as bargaining chips.

    The EU wouldn’t even discuss the rights of UK citizens in EU countries before Article 50 was triggered. UK citizens were used as bargaining chips. But somehow the EU doesn’t get criticised for this, and all the other stunts they pull.

    The whole concept of “EU citizenship” is disgusting and false. The EU isn’t a country – how can you be a citizen of it? They are French, German and Italian citizens who have the misfortune to belong to a corrupt, sclerotic, tyrannical would-be superstate.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    The open-borders-if-no-welfare argument is bunk. All you need is significant wage differential to make developed nations attractive to hordes of 3rd worlders.

    My country Singapore doesn’t have much state welfare, and none at all for foreign workers. Doesn’t stop them from wanting to come in.

    Open borders would mean a population of 10 million in our tiny island state. Foreign workers would be more than happy to come in, endure the hellish conditions, work for a few years to build a nest egg, then depart for their homelands to enjoy the fruits of their labor. They don’t even need to vote – just making money would be good enough.

    Meanwhile, Singaporean citizens would be stuck in our hellhole with all the attendant problems of overpopulation unless other countries are willing to open up their borders for us to retire in those countries.

    Yeah, and pigs can fly.

    The UK and US might be (much) larger countries, but the same principles apply.

    As for the race-culture argument, there is emerging scientific evidence, despite all claims to the contrary, of statistically significant differences between races/populations/ethnicities stemming from genes. However, the geneticists don’t dare to be too upfront about it due to the oppressive PC environment, so instead of ‘race’, they use ‘population’ as a handy euphemism.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “All you need is significant wage differential to make developed nations attractive to hordes of 3rd worlders.”

    Which is good. High wages indicate a shortage of labour – it means there’s something society needs more of but there’s not enough workers able to supply it. More workers come in, make more of the stuff you want, wages and therefore prices drop, and everybody gets richer.

    It’s the same thing that happened with the industrial revolution. Machinery doesn’t need paying, so if we invent a machine capable of doing a job, there’s a huge wage differential between the humans and the machines, machinery floods in, endures the hellish conditions, and makes human society wealthier by causing prices to drop. It’s the same principle.

    The claim that cheap labour makes people poorer is exactly the one the Luddites made. It’s wrong.

    “As for the race-culture argument, there is emerging scientific evidence, despite all claims to the contrary, of statistically significant differences between races/populations/ethnicities stemming from genes.”

    No there isn’t.

  • neonsnake

    The EU wouldn’t even discuss the rights of UK citizens in EU countries before Article 50 was triggered. UK citizens were used as bargaining chips. But somehow the EU doesn’t get criticised for this, and all the other stunts they pull.

    Look, if you want me to add a “of course, all the EU27 countries should have guaranteed UK citizens’ rights as well”, then sure, that’s fine. But I was honest enough to explain that I’m not unbiased, nor is this a purely cold logical political point for me. If you think I’m fine with promises being broken and the possibility of my family being broken up, then I don’t know what to say to that.

    As to the second point, sure, whatever, I’m sure you’re right. But the phrase “eu citizens” conveyed what I was saying well enough.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Which is good. High wages indicate a shortage of labour – it means there’s something society needs more of but there’s not enough workers able to supply it. More workers come in, make more of the stuff you want, wages and therefore prices drop, and everybody gets richer.

    In your analysis, you missed out purchasing power parity.

    Our wages for foreign labour is pitifully low, which is why citizens usually don’t do these jobs – they are simply not enough to survive and save up for retirement. But compared to the foreigners’ pay back home and purchasing power after exchange rates, it’s easily 2-5 times better. There are lots of stories of such low wage workers in Singapore going back and buying huge nice homes in their home countries.

    But us Singaporeans can’t go to these countries and buy THEIR land with our higher purchasing power. For various reasons, they’ll be crazy to let us do this.

    No there isn’t.

    I’m sure you are smarter than James Watson and Charles Murray, which is why you say this.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Nulius: “High wages indicate a shortage of labour …”

    I am not sure that is the whole story, even in your theoretical world. Primarily, high wages indicate a strong bargaining position for the worker. Genuine (usually temporary) labor shortages of course give the worker stronger bargaining power — such as currently in the North Dakota oil fields. But so do artificial labor shortages such as governmental requirements to use Union labor, or licensing constraints on entry to the legal & medical professions.

    Strong bargaining positions — why do CEOs get such high pay these days? When a CEO gets $10 Million/year, do we really believe there is no competition from someone else out there who would do as good (or maybe even better) job for $9 Million/year? The important factor in CEOs’ high pay is usually that they have great influence over the Directors who fix their pay! Or what about our elected representatives, who effectively decide what they are worth?

    Wobbly Guy has a good point about purchasing power parity. I have talked to taxi drivers in Abu Dhabi who were highly educated Indians, working at a low-wage job overseas to build the funds to start their own business back home. We have to admire the human spirit!

  • Nullius in Verba

    “In your analysis, you missed out purchasing power parity.”

    PPP makes no difference to the argument. It is to both our benefit and their benefit for them to come here and do the work. It’s to our benefit because it makes goods and services cheaper. It’s to their benefit because they can earn a lot more than back home. Everyone wins.

    “There are lots of stories of such low wage workers in Singapore going back and buying huge nice homes in their home countries.”

    Good for them.

    “But us Singaporeans can’t go to these countries and buy THEIR land with our higher purchasing power. For various reasons, they’ll be crazy to let us do this.”

    They’d be crazy not to. But even if they don’t, that doesn’t change the point that both societies are better off with free movement of labour. It’s a general free trade argument. Free trade is always better – you let consumers buy whatever they want from whatever supplier they want, and suppliers compete on cost and quality to offer the best deal. The broader the competition and the fewer barriers to trade there are, the richer society gets.

    If there was just one thing I could teach everyone in the world, it would be the benefits of free trade and the evils of protectionism. Much of the rest of libertarianism follows naturally from that. But despite being standard economics for the past 150 years, few people are even aware of it.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Genuine (usually temporary) labor shortages of course give the worker stronger bargaining power — such as currently in the North Dakota oil fields. But so do artificial labor shortages such as governmental requirements to use Union labor, or licensing constraints on entry to the legal & medical professions.”

    Yes, either way it’s due to a shortage of people able to do the job – whether the shortage is artificial or not doesn’t change that. Protectionists seek an artificial monopoly on the supply of goods, services, or labour to limit supply and thus raise the price.

    “Strong bargaining positions — why do CEOs get such high pay these days? When a CEO gets $10 Million/year, do we really believe there is no competition from someone else out there who would do as good (or maybe even better) job for $9 Million/year?”

    Why do you find that hard to believe?

    To become a CEO, you just need a good track recording of running companies successfully. Start your own company and make it grow. Sell it, buy a bigger company, and make that grow. Repeat. If you can demonstrate the ability to grow big companies, people will be willing to ask you to run their company for them, and will obviously have to pay you more to do so than you could earn running your own.

    It’s not complicated. But it turns out it’s a very rare skill compared to the demand for it.

    “I have talked to taxi drivers in Abu Dhabi who were highly educated Indians, working at a low-wage job overseas to build the funds to start their own business back home.”

    Indeed. I would refer you to the book ‘The Mystery of Capital’ I mentioned above. It’s highly recommended!

    “We have to admire the human spirit!”

    Absolutely!

  • neonsnake

    No there isn’t.

    I’m sure you are smarter than James Watson and Charles Murray, which is why you say this.

    I agree. Sooner we get over the “he’s written a book, therefore he’s very clever”, the better.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Libertarians who support open borders amuse me.

    There’s a reason why in 100 years the countries of Israel and Japan will be far freer countries than the USA or UK. That reason is that while the UK and USA have borders de jure they not have borders de facto. Israel and Japan have borders de jure and also de facto and they let in only “certain” people. Pretty simple really.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Nulius: “If you can demonstrate the ability to grow big companies, people will be willing to ask you to run their company for them …”

    Oh dear! Just when I thought we were making progress, theory rears its head again. Theory has its place, but keep an eye on what is happening in the real world. Do some checking into the backgrounds of the people running big established companies. Very few of them are entrepreneurs with a track record outside of big companies, but most of them are smooth intelligent greasy-pole climbers; which is one of the reasons why big companies tend to stumble and decline as the entrepreneurial spirit gets squeezed out of them. Cook replacing Jobs at Apple is only a recent example.

    Executive pay — what really happens: Directors nominally have the shareholders’ interests at heart, but often Directors are invited onto the Board by the CEO and are favorably disposed towards her. A sub-group of the Directors engages Hay or one of the other HR-type firms to study executive compensation among peer companies. The Directors of course think their girl is good, so clearly her pay should be increased to the top quartile. Since every company is doing the same thing, next year the top quartile among peer companies is higher — and the year after that too. And most CEOs don’t object to this upward pressure on their compensation. Today’s level of executive compensation has very little to do with any limited supply of individuals with executive talent.

  • Eric

    Never mind freedom of movement, in recent years I’ve become dissatisfied with the universal franchise for citizens.

    I’m with you, but the problem is once you restrict the franchise the people who can vote tend to vote their own interests to the exclusion of the people who can’t. The only way I can see that working over the long term is is some sort of Heinleinian “service guarantees citizenship” scheme which makes voting rights accessible to everyone based on strictly non-hereditary criteria.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Very few of them are entrepreneurs with a track record outside of big companies, but most of them are smooth intelligent greasy-pole climbers; …”

    Running a department or division within a company can be taken as a second-best approximation to running a company, if you’re desperate. It’s not the same, because it only demonstrates the ability to do the mundane parts of the job under guidance, not the ability to make the real leadership decisions. But if you can’t afford the entrepreneurs (who as you say, are a tiny minority), then someone who has run a major division is probably a better bet than a random Joe off the street.

    “… which is one of the reasons why big companies tend to stumble and decline as the entrepreneurial spirit gets squeezed out of them”

    Right. So any company that doesn’t pay the rate for valid entrepreneurial talent goes bankrupt. It’s clearly not the case that anyone can do the job as well as Jobs. The talent is rare.

    There aren’t nearly enough entrepreneurs to go around, so companies are forced to take pole-climbers in their place. And whether or not the board of directors thinks they’re good, it’s the market that ultimately makes the decision. If you’re not good, the market will let you know.

    The same happens at any level in the market. A company produces a good product, and people start buying it, then when quality declines it takes a while for the consumers to catch on, but eventually they stop buying it. Employers employ people with qualifications and track record, realise it’s all exaggeration and fakery, and get rid of them. There’s friction and lossage. It takes a while for information to spread, and for market prices to adjust.

    You’re right to point to the simplifications I’m making (to keep my comments readable) and help unfold the next layer of complexity. But I’d still argue that the free market adjusts to information faster and better than any of the alternatives. And I’d still argue that it’s madness to mess with the price signals that enable it to do so.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Apologies for not reading all of the above comments, but there are too many. I did search for “divide et impera” and did not find it. Yet, no discussion of immigration makes sense without the principle of divide et impera.

    Read what Plato wrote a long time ago about the transition from democracy to tyranny. Read what Aristotle wrote almost as long a time ago about city-states with people of mixed background. Read what Hayek wrote not such a long time ago in the last chapter of The Road to Serfdom. Then put it all together: somebody in the ruling class will always be ready to exploit, indeed to create, conflicts of interests between ruled classes (as Plato pointed out); and such conflicts of interest are bound to be generated and intensified by cultural differences. It only makes it worse when there are visible markers such as skin color that differentiate between classes of ruled people.

    I, too, used to think that open borders might not be much of a problem without the welfare state; but then i realized that, first, in a multicultural society it is impossible to shrink, let alone eliminate, the welfare state; and second, it’s not just the welfare state: there are many more ways in which the ruling class can stir conflict between people of different backgrounds.

    Just look at Germany: once enough new residents are let in, there is an excuse to impose censorship. You probably agree with me, that Merkel and Blair are not smart enough to foresee that opening the floodgates would give them an excuse to impose censorship; but the result is the same, whether intentional or not.

    In the case of the US Democrats, however, the principle of divide et impera is clearly at the back of their minds. Were it not for that, they’d have no principles at all.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “Then put it all together: somebody in the ruling class will always be ready to exploit, indeed to create, conflicts of interests between ruled classes (as Plato pointed out); and such conflicts of interest are bound to be generated and intensified by cultural differences.”

    Competition, you mean? Free market types want to introduce competition between suppliers?

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