The Case for Getting Rid of Borders—Completely

In The Atlantic I present the case for open borders. Here is one bit:

No standard moral framework, be it utilitarian, libertarian, egalitarian, Rawlsian, Christian, or any other well-developed perspective, regards people from foreign lands as less entitled to exercise their rights—or as inherently possessing less moral worth—than people lucky to have been born in the right place at the right time. Nationalism, of course, discounts the rights, interests, and moral value of “the Other,” but this disposition is inconsistent with our fundamental moral teachings and beliefs.

Freedom of movement is a basic human right. Thus the Universal Declaration of Human Rights belies its name when it proclaims this right only “within the borders of each state.” Human rights do not stop at the border.Today, we treat as pariahs those governments that refuse to let their people exit. I look forward to the day when we treat as pariahs those governments that refuse to let people enter.

Read the whole thing.

Addenda: I was asked to write this piece for a forthcoming volume called How to Save Humanity that will feature essays by Steven Pinker, Martin Rees, Nick Bostom and others.

Open Borders seems to be having a moment. Time also featured a piece on migration by Bryan Caplan.

The comment section at The Atlantic reminded me of how good the comment section at MR can be. Amusingly, I was called both a zionist Jew and an anti-semite out to destroy Israel. On the other hand, my article has 31,000 likes and counting so I can’t complain.


Maybe at this stage of human development there's a possibility that open borders could work out. Didn't seem to be a success for the native Americans, though.

No, I don't think it will work out at a time when the developing world is exploding in population. Do we really want to accomodate three billion people to start?

Why do you frame it as us accommodating them? Immigrants have to work to survive, prosper, and create futures for their children just like the rest of us. They will pay taxes just like the rest of us. They are not exempt from the pressures of modern capitalist society.

Also, many developed nations have a lopsided population that will be unsustainable in the future unless there is an injection of an able working age population.


"Also, many developed nations have a lopsided population that will be unsustainable in the future unless there is an injection of an able working age population"

Poor immigrants are a burden from the moment they show up until they die. They make aging societies more unsustainable, not less. No one claims that our own poor people are anything other than a burden. Why should imported poor people be any different.

Professor Borjas, the highly esteemed economist, stated in his blog in June 2007:

"There has been a lot of fake fog thrown into the question of whether immigrants pay their way in the welfare state. It’s time for some sanity in this matter as well. The welfare state is specifically designed to transfer resources from higher-income to lower-income persons. Immigrants fall disproportionately into the bottom half of the income distribution. It is downright ridiculous to claim that low-skill immigrants somehow end up being net contributors into the public treasury."

With GDP a little over 50k, and government spending about 40% of GDP, each person consumes a little over $20k in government services. Subtract fixed costs of interest and defense spending, and it is just about 20k per person, every year of their life. If you don't average paying 20k in taxes from birth to death, you are a net drain.

The ratio of public expenditure to domestic product is 0.33. A large chunk of that is financed through bond sales and indirect taxes. Direct taxes per capita are about $9,700 per year, or $26,000 per household per year.


If you make $15-20K per year (typical for a low-skill immigrant), can you pay $80K per year in taxes (assuming you have a wife and two kids)?

Math is a big problem for the Open Borders crowd.

What a great logical summary by Professor Borjas. I've not heard of him before but he's nailed this point here. In the UK we get this fake fog all the time, in the matter of complicated academic articles.

If the people of developed nations aren't having enough children, society can socialize them to have more children. Right now, our elite leaders and academic institutions are pressuring people to accept foreigners as their own children, which is a much more contentious approach.


"Right now, our elite leaders and academic institutions are pressuring people to accept foreigners as their own children, which is a much more contentious approach."

If it worked ("accept foreigners as their own children"), they might have a point. It doesn't work. Imported foreigners don't come close to having the same human capital (along many dimensions) as native children. The differences are vast. See "Berlin Gets Bad News From PISA" (by Anatoly Karlin) for some data. The bottom line is that the elite is committed to a "Blank-Slate" fantasy worldview. The fact that it is a fantasy hasn't had much impact so far.

Of course, that's not really true. Elites everywhere go to great pains to segregate themselves from imported low-skill immigrants. A better analysis might be, "we know that the Blank-Slate is nonsense, and we prove it in our own lives, but we are short-sighted and greedy anyway".

The bottom line is that the elite is committed to a “Blank-Slate” fantasy worldview. The fact that it is a fantasy hasn’t had much impact so far.

No they're not. Poor performance on standardized tests by Mexican immigrants does not touch them. Their children are seldom competing with that social stratum. The poor performance means the problem is out of sight and out of mind for the professional-managerial element. The problems from immigration will only hit them when there's a breakdown of public order where they're accustomed to living.

Also, many developed nations have a lopsided population that will be unsustainable in the future unless there is an injection of an able working age population.

That's not universally true in the occidental world and you might just attempt some pro-natalist policies before importing a new population. You also might attempt a measure of selectivity in who you import (not done now in Europe).

If there's open borders, we can move to Africa and take it over. There's no argument against colonialism if there are no borders because there are no governments. Except for our government, of course, which says it owns all of Africa.

where's the like button?

I don't understand how private individuals being able to move where they wants equates being able to take over Africa by moving there.

Care to explain your reasoning in some more detail?

Many foreign governments have laws against allowing foreigners to buy land precisely to avoid "rich foreigners" from "taking over."


It is they height of irony (if not hypocrisy) for a Canadian to advocate Open Borders. As you know, Canada runs a very elitist immigration policy along with a guest worker policy that bars the importation of families and makes sure that the "guests" go home.

Harun - Yes, OK, fair enough.

An easy solution to be compatible with open border ideals, which primarily relate to free movement of labour (capital is already quite free to cross borders for most purposes, although you cite a very real exception), would be to only allow these people to rent, or to cap property ownership at some maximum value, presumably sufficient to own a fairly nice house but not so high as to allow them to "take over".

It's worse than that for Alex. He wrote "No standard moral framework, be it utilitarian, libertarian, egalitarian, Rawlsian, Christian, or any other well-developed perspective, regards people from foreign lands as less entitled to exercise their rights—or as inherently possessing less moral worth—than people lucky to have been born in the right place at the right time. "

He's just set himself up completely for the "why don't you allow random strangers to move into your home and eat your food, etc" argument. Really dumb.

Peter - 1) I never advocated for open borders. I just said it's a nice ideal. 2) However, I disagreed strongly with the rationale of most of the arguments against it. 3) Even if I DID advocate for it, this would not be hypocrisy, as Canadians are not monolithic and at all times I reserve the right to hold my opinion opinion contrary to whatever practice might be in vogue where I happen to come from.

I wrote the "Kick Cuck" entry which I think is still the last entry. I believe it makes an exceedingly strong case against open borders. It is my actual opinion on the matter.

However, I because I think free movement of labour is a very good ideal, albeit absolutely unrealistic in the present, I like to try to think through ways that these obvious problems could be remedied.

I believe there is some semantic confusion. "Abolishing borders" is a figurative statement. Borders can still be established, with different effective governments and laws on their opposite sides, while simultaneously abolishing traditional barriers to entry. A government that chooses not to discard people coming through its borders does not cease to be a government.

Mandatory Palestine?

(Migration to create an ethnic state may have been the best option available at the time, but I think tolerant multiculturalism is a higher goal, and one that perhaps sadly needs an immigration policy.)

Right. Open Borders requires the existence of borders which are kept open by positive effort on the part of governments. This is different than No Borders/the state of nature, where some knuckleheads inevitably draw a border around themselves.

Suppose that I want to live in Africa but be governed by USA law? Should that be accommodated?

I don't think that's the idea at all.

But you could move to whichever country had the laws which suited you best.


If you want to live in Africa you are subject to African law. With Open Border if enough of "you" move, you can impose your own laws. As soon as you outnumber the locals, pass laws to dispossesses them. If they complain, call them "racists" and point out your own superior morality.

Basically. As far as I'm concerned, private colonialism is pretty much fine and dandy.

Re Native Americans: I don't think "disease vector" is pertinent to immigration debates any more.

But certainly, individual immigrants NGOs like ISIS, Al Qaeda, Comintern, Mark Thatcher's and Che Guerva's friends, the Russian "volunteers" in Ukraine, etc. should face borders, no? And if individual members of those voluntary organizations should face Closed Borders, then we're just talking about drawing lines

You know, a hell of a lot of them wound up being shot to death

Human rights do not stop at your doorstep.

No standard moral frameworks regards people from the neigboorhouse to be less entiled to exercise their rights . or possessing less moral worth - than the people lucky enough to have been born at the right place and time to live in your house.
Freedom of movement is a basic human right. It also implies that everybody has the right to move into your house.

But libertarianism of course, discount the rights, interest and moral valus of "the other" - it is inconsistent with our fundamental moral teachings and beliefs.

There can be no such things as private property.

Please stop the nonsense. It is a big strawman. It is not about "people lucky to have been born in the right place at the right time". It is about that it is not a right to move into someone elses society and enjoy what they have created. Nobody says "the other" posses less moral worth", but from having the same moral worth doesn't follow that everybode has the same right to everything. You claim to be a libertarian, you should understand that. And you also work at GMU, it is not free for everybody to study there, is it?

No one is saying that they would have a right to your property, or to move in to your personal living room, take over your bedroom, etc.

Just that they can stroll into town, chat with some employers, take a job, and rent/buy where they want.

There are some pretty strong arguments against open borders (largely about the difficulty of maintaining the welfare state). Why settle for the straw man?

"No one is saying that they would have a right to your property, or to move in to your personal living room, take over your bedroom"

I know. But Alex, Caplan, Tyler should say so. According to every moral framework. The argument is the same as the one Alex uses for Open Borders.
I guess he is just a bigot.

"There are some pretty strong arguments against open borders"

I agree, and I already knew.
These arguments have been made again and again. Alex and Caplan just ignores it.

I didn't settle for a strawman. I blamed Alex for his idea that some people possess less moral worth than others.

The strawman is that open borders is like letting someone move into your house. Moving next door is altogether different from squatting in your backyard and helping themselves to the fridge.

Alex does not suggest that some people have less moral worth than others. Au contraire, he suggests that we all have the same moral worth, and so should have a chance to make it anywhere. Or, by "moral worth" do you mean that he seems to say that your ethical underpinnings are weak if you don't agree (which I don't think he says at all, except perhaps in an extremely indirect manner).

But Im not making that strawman.

It is not the same and I dont claim it is.
But according to all moral frameworks, moving next door is the same as moving from country to country. Hence Alex should support that everyone has a right to every house.

Otherwise he is suggesting some people to be more moral worth than others.
It is stupid. I agree, but thats the logic provided by Alex.

This is not a straw man argument. Our point is that the exact same logic and moral justifications used by Caplan/Tabarrok to argue for open borders at a nation level also directly apply to private property usage and the individual household level. We know Caplan/Tabarrok support private property rights and home ownership. A straw man argument would be assigning a false argument to Caplan/Tabarrok and then tearing down the ridiculously false argument. We aren't doing that.

Yes, letting someone move in to your house is absolutely different from letting them pay to rent next door.

Adults are allowed to own and run a private household and give benefits to members of the household and have absolute discretion to deny and discriminate against non-household members. Caplan/Tabarrok support this. This is precisely analogous to open borders. The right of people to form larger groups and treat each other better than they treat random strangers requires that they control membership and directly conflicts with the borderless nation premise.

OK. Then it is a natural extension of logic that once I take one step towards the sea, that I will end up drowning myself in the sea. Taking an idea to the absurdist possible conclusion may be an interesting thought experiment, but often it's a cheap way to counterargue against something.

Massimo - it is not the same logic whatsoever. One refers to private property rights of the individual. The other refers to an arbitrary collective, the nation state. It is not a natural extension of any logic to apply reasoning at the level of the nation state of logic applied at the level of the individual .... unless you're trying to make theories of international "democratic" institutions (a la "perpetual peace", Kant) more easily accessible to our brains.

One refers to private property rights of the individual.

Really? Which person owns our house, me, or my wife?

Can they take over the lobby of our apartment building? What about if I lived in a gated community with a covenant regime and a homeowners' association--are strangers entitled to camp in the public areas? What if a town attempts to achieve the same result with a zoning ordinance--is that somehow illegitimate? Where do you draw the line?

Yes, allowing people to rent/buy next door is analogous to letting them squat on private property. The strength of your analogy is overwhelming.

Yes, it is. It's pretty much exactly analogous. For some reason Tabarrok and Caplan think individuals have the right to exclude others from their property, but groups do NOT have the right to exclude others from property they control. Thus, a nation may not morally exclude non-nationals from their nation, and an HOA may not morally exclude non-HOA members from their gated community. That is their logic. They appear to have no justification for it whatsoever.

You can't buy an apartment in our building without board approval, and you certainly can't rent one. Why shouldn't the shareholders of our apartment corporation have the right to make and enforce those rules? It's our building, and we can do what we want. And I would support the same right for members of a homeowners' association, and--not being a libertarian--for the members of every polity.

Individual rights and group rights are not exactly analogous. There is a case to be made along these lines: "If individuals can enforce individual property rights, then why can't collectives of individuals enforce collective property rights?" There is a certain level of analogy, but they are not even close to "exactly analogous".

Applying your reasoning to the 2nd amendment: If individuals have the right to bear arms, then I have the right to start a private militia.

I was with you until your second paragraph. That really makes no sense.

Cliff - The point about the 2nd amendment was not to make a coherent and sensible argument, it was to demonstrate that considering individual and group rights as equivalent (e.g., private property - individual, and national borders - collective) can be used to make absurd propositions, and therefore to demonstrate that applying the same logic to individuals and collectives may seem logical, but simply doesn't pass the smell test of sensible things.

About HOAs - I think the open borders equivalent would be if an HOA were to say that only members of the HOA are eligible to apply for employment within the HOA (common for decision making positions - their "politicians" - but almost never applied for non-decision making positions. The closed borders equivalent would be if the HOA stated that only members could be employed to mow the law, keep books, repair things, etc. Recall, the point of open borders is to free labour to seek employment in all markets, not to undermine any sort of individual property right.

There is no connection between forming a militia and bearing arms. It's not a personal/group dichotomy, it's just two different things.

Cliff - I strongly agree that it's two different things. Much like allowing someone to rent next door (collective level - the can enter the country) and obtain a job is not at all the same thing as them having a right to property to which you own a deed or contractually rent from someone who possesses the deed (individual level - refusing them entry).

I'm arbitrarily extending a concept of rights between groups and individual and you think it's absurd when I apply to one principle (individuals have a right to bear arms, ergo collectivities have a right to bear arms in an explicitly collective manner). But you seem to think it's reasonable to apply it to another principle as a means of counterargument (if people can enter the country - collective - then they have the right to your backyard - individual).

It is not reasonable to pass argumentation between individual and collective levels as though the one is naturally an extension of the other.

Applying your reasoning to the 2nd amendment: If individuals have the right to bear arms, then I have the right to start a private militia.

You do have the right to start a private militia. Or would, if you were American (I'm forgetting if you're Canadian or not)


You're not making any sense. There is a very direct analogy between an individual with a property right excluding entry to that property and a group with a property right excluding entry to that property. That's not two different things at all. Are you suggesting there is a difference between a house owned by me and a house owned jointly by myself and my wife? What about jointly with my wife and children? What about jointly with a corporation?

The analogy with the 2nd amendment would be if you said that because individuals are entitled to bear arms, groups are also entitled to bear arms. That is so true that it is a tautology.

What makes a group of people bearing arms a "private militia"? If a group of people bearing arms is a private militia then self-evidently that is permitted by the 2nd amendment. But presumably you mean something more than a group of people bearing arms, and ipso facto that is an issue outside the 2nd amendment and which is totally unrelated and has no analogy in individual rights.

For example if you mean a private militia goes around threatening people with their weapons, the analogy is whether an individual can threaten people with their firearms, which they cannot. You are trying to create a distinction between individual and group rights where there is none.

Among other things, the vacuous nature of these "no borders" arguments is demonstrated by the very discriminating ideas proponents have about which borders they want to erase. Right now, Christians and other minority groups are being killed, their property is being taken and women are being sold into slavery in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Nigeria. Homosexuals and apostates face the death penalty and non-Muslims have no rights to worship throughout the Muslim world. Muslims kill and rape Buddhists in Thailand and Burma, Orthodox Christians in the Balkans and Caucasus, Copts in Egypt and Libya, Catholic and Protestant Christians in Nigeria and the Philippines and Jews everywhere they can be found.

I suspect that Alex wouldn't want that kind of thing going on in Northern Virginia and would expect the police and/or military to promptly put an end to it if it did occur. Evidently, however, the borders of Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc., are sacred to him. Why? Muslim men (90% of refugees from Muslim countries) have human rights which allow them to cross borders for a better life (we shouldn't disadvantage them just because they were born in the wrong place) but Christian and Yazidi slave girls in Syria have no rights, or at least none that Alex feels obligated to defend. If Alex would use force to stop slavery in Northern Virginia, why isn't he advocating an immediate invasion of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, etc.? The answer, of course, is that all this gabble about the "human rights" of immigrants is a pretext. Alex is interested only in finding somebody to clean his toilets at low cost and he is not going all the way to Syria to get them.


Alex is willing to destroy Western Civilization to get his toilets cleaned cheaply.

So sad. So true.

Should I be able to transfer my right to walk through the lobby to my apartment to a friend? Maybe not if the agreement when I moved in said that non USA citizens are not allowed to use the lobby.

Why wouldn't they have rights to your property and living room? If you agree that they have the right to cross the border to work as your pool boy, who says they don't have the right to take your house and the pool with it? If you grant them the universal human right to clean your toilets, perhaps they will conclude that they have some other rights. Why wouldn't cabana boy, seeking a better life, just take your life to get it. History gives plenty of examples of exactly that. In fact, most of what we call history is mostly one rape and pillage episode after another. All of them in roughly the same pattern. The Goths were initially allowed into the borders of the Roman Empire as refugees from the Huns. Less than a generation later, they showed their gratitude by sacking Rome.

How are your property rights, bedroom rights, etc. protected now? Who guaranties your rights to anything? In the real world, the answer is that I (and others) protect your rights while you (and others) protect mine. The principle reason we are willing to do that for each other is that we have a shared political identity which allows me to see a benefit to you as being of some benefit to me. If it turns out that you would rather hire, feed, protect, provide benefits to others, why should I continue to hire, feed, or protect you.

Does your current poolboy have a right to squat on your property? No. I don't see why any different sort of reasoning need to apply to open borders.

This is an exceedingly weak line of thinking. It's like suggesting "if a little of A is OK, then naturally the most extreme possible argument in that direction is also OK". If that's the best you can come up with, then perhaps open borders is better idea than I thought.

Having Borders is clearly not "the most extreme"

It is Alex who comes up with the exceedingly weak line of thinking. You can own a house, a farm, a forrest, but 10 million people just cant own a country and thereby have the right to select who is to enter or not. Thats a exceedingly weak line of thinking.

That's the same thing you're doing. If a little immigration is good, then naturally abolishing the border and letting in waves upon waves of third worlders with alien customs and norms would also be OK.


The poolboy has just as much a right to squat on your property as a Mexican poolboy has to live in the U.S. Borders for me, but not thee is just greed, lust for exploitation, etc. coated with a pretense of superiority.

poincare - I never made that argument.

"A little immigration is good" can be easily justified. This is an ENTIRELY different discussion from 100% free movement of labour.

P S - you are treating the delineation of individual property rights as a perfect analogue to national borders. There is a certain level of analogy, but they are by no means the same.

bmcburney, you are losing me. I think I can make your points more clearly:

A hypothetical poolboy or household worker gets paid for services rendered and that's it. An Western immigrant or at least their children are automatically granted full membership, social services, and through voting rights, full ownership equality. Organized immigrant groups can basically conquer pre-existing members and push them out.

The root question is do pre-existing citizens get any more rights to a land and it's culture and institutions than random strangers? The open border argument is no. I say, yes. Just like how we justify private property ownership, if you work, save, and buy a house and land, you get to enjoy that more than random strangers. If a certain extended family demographic group builds a community, it isn't eternally theirs, but they should have more rights than random strangers do. If religion A builds and maintains a place of worship, it's going to cater more to religion A than a completely foreign religion, and members of foreign religions might feel like second class citizens there.


No, those are not at all the points I am making. I contend that the existence of "rights", certainly their practical existence but even their content as ideas, can exist only in the context of a shared political identity. I protect your rights because you protect mine and we both agree as to the content of those rights. If the entire population of the world agreed that everyone had rights of the same nature, it might be possible to extend rights beyond the borders of a single nation-state or culture. This can sometimes be done to a limited extent but even within, for example, the United States, rights differ in small ways from place to place. Canada is very similar to the United States but, in Canada, citizens have been exposed to civil and criminal liability for accurately quoting the unpopular parts of the Bible (if done in a manner which implies approval of those portions of the Bible). If the Canadian-US border is erased, either citizens of Canada must give up the right to impose civil liability for quoting the Bible or citizens of the US must give up the right to quote the Bible freely. This, or any, particular example may strike you as trivial but, in many cases, the differences are significant. As I pointed out above, they kill homosexuals and Christian converts in Tehran.

In the long run, a society which attempts to address these issues by imposing second class citizenship on immigrants would become unstable. Likewise, a society which fails to assimilate newcomers into the dominate group is unstable or, to avoid instability, must abandon their original values and adopt the values and cultural assumptions of the immigrant group. The only practical solution, if you wish to preserve the culture which has proven desirable enough to attract immigrants in the first place, is to limit immigration to levels which promote assimilate into the existing culture. Probably, the number of new immigrants could be increased to the extent that the existing culture is self-confident enough to inculcate or otherwise their own values on immigrants. Also, immigrant groups are not identical in their willingness or ability to accept new values. Those are not conditions currently prevalent in Western Civilization.

If the Canadian-US border is erased, either citizens of Canada must give up the right to impose civil liability for quoting the Bible or citizens of the US must give up the right to quote the Bible freely.

Such nonsense. I'm not even sure I support open borders but the logic in this argument is.... not even logic.

Open borders wouldn't force nations to give up or manufacture rights. Rather, said rights would be gained or lost by the people who choose to live and work in one region over another.

Imagine a woman citizen of the United States. The abortion rights available to her change depending on whether she chooses to live in Oregon or Oklahoma.

Original D,

Rights and other cultural norms are not a feature of the geography of a place. They exist as a result of the opinions and values of the inhabitants. Change the inhabitants and you will change the rights and norms.

" in Canada, citizens have been exposed to civil and criminal liability for accurately quoting the unpopular parts of the Bible" - Canada takes religious freedom very seriously. Please cite the case you are referring to: you are certainly skimming over important details. This would only have happened if it was clear that the passage was being used to promote violence against some group.

" If the Canadian-US border is erased" - I.e., you completely misunderstand what is being proposed. Not to erase borders, but to allow labour to move freely. NO ONE is talking about erasing borders, except rarely in the loose figurative sense.

Canada takes religious freedom very seriously


The state of human rights and freedom of speech in Canada is worse than I thought... And I thought it was pretty bad. Apparently, the Bible is not OK, but

"Kill The Christian. You are the one we despise. Day in day out your words compromise lies. I will love watching you die "


"Kill all the white people/Then we’ll be free"

are OK. I am not suggesting that U.S. is some model of freedom of speech. PC censorship exists here as well.

Peter - First, you're clearly trolling me and it's annoying.

Second, please provide links for what you're saying. I've been all over Canada, lived in several different cities and some rural areas, and have spent many years of my life working in public-faced positions where I had dozens of conversations daily almost always with new people, fairly often discussing various social and political issues, and have also canvassed for many issues engaging in much deeper conversations of quite a lot of social issues, and moreover am active in Canadian media comment boards on an almost daily basis, and NEVER in my entire life have I ONCE heard anything REMOTELY like anything you're talking about.

Also, you never backed up your claim that someone faced legal sanction for quoting Bible verses. Please provide a link to back up this claim.


Sorry but this site generally bans links (clearly exceptions exist). A post with links typically goes into a "pending moderation" status and stays there. However, I you type the lyrics into Google you will get some germane hits.

Pretty crazy stuff, but check out two lines in the first verse that make it clear that it's not promoting violence: "Soon it will be and by your own demise - Buried in hypocrisy ". He further seems to suggest that, because Christians have become money worshippers that this will come to pass at the hands of the devil.

I personally disagree with the ruling, and think that sales of the CD should have been banned, but if you read the logic, it's actually quite sound. First, put in context, the song does not advocate for violence, and thus does not fall under criminal treatment of hate speech. And second, in Canada Christians are not a vulnerable group in need of protection.

Observe that, while the precise lyrics of the song are reproduced (by the way, this is an illegal infringement of copyright law), the sites pointing out this contradiction to the suspended anti-gay minister are not willing to extend the same level of argumentation to the other side - they never quote the offending speech that led the minister to be banned. I have two ministers in my families, and have asked of their opinions on gay people. They are unequivocal - the Bible says that homosexuality is a sin, but it also preaches forgiveness. Hate the act, love the person. Clearly the suspended minister did not share this interpretation.

Nonetheless, I find the case quite shocking. But in Canada, no matter how hateful the content, you must convince the judge that the hateful words were actually designed to stir up violence against a group in order for it to be considered as a crime.


First, a legal point

"by the way, this is an illegal infringement of copyright law"

isn't quite so clear. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of lyrics web sites. They appear to operate without any legal ramifications. Beyond that, their is the doctrine of "fair use". Fair use allows selective use of copyrighted material for educational purposes. See "Are music lyrics copyrighted?" over at Writer's Stack Exchange for an informative discussion. It appears to be clear (in the USA) that using a few lines from a song for non-commercial purposes is a "fair use".

"Pretty crazy stuff, but check out two lines in the first verse that make it clear that it’s not promoting violence" as in "Soon it will be and by your own demise Buried in hypocrisy"

However, the song doesn't quite end their. The author isn't quite content with the "your own demise" theme. A few lines down we have

"Kill the christian, kill the christian
Kill the christian, kill the christian
Kill the christian, kill the christian
Kill the christian"

and the last lines are

"Kill the christian
Kill the christian...dead!"

"First, put in context, the song does not advocate for violence"

Judging from the lyrics, that is somewhat questionable... Of course, there is also

“Kill all the white people/Then we’ll be free”

The full lyrics (several places on the web) of that song don't contain any hint of ambiguity.

"And second, in Canada Christians are not a vulnerable group in need of protection"

Presumably Jews in Canada aren't in need of protection. Does that protect Canadians who advocate building gas chambers and using them to execute Jews? The French speaking people of Canada aren't about to disappear. Does that mean advocating a genocide in Montreal is OK?

"they never quote the offending speech that led the minister to be banned"

That is true. But I will. See "Lund v Boissoin" (Wikipedia). Apparently, the most outrageous statements (from Wikipedia) were

"Where homosexuality flourishes, all manner of wickedness abounds"


"Homosexual rights activists and those that defend them, are just as immoral as the pedophiles, drug dealers and pimps that plague our communities."

The complete text of the letter can be found at "The Letter that Started It All"

The Wikipedia page on the case notes that in 2012, the case against Rev. Boissoin finally ended with a decision (in Boissoin's favor) by the Court of Appeal of Alberta.

"But in Canada, no matter how hateful the content, you must convince the judge that the hateful words were actually designed to stir up violence against a group in order for it to be considered as a crime."

That does not appear to be true. The decision against Boissoin came from the Alberta Human Rights Panel, not a judge.


"And second, in Canada Christians are not a vulnerable group in need of protection"

Now I am not a lawyer. However, the Alberta Human Rights Act does not appear to incorporate the idea that only vulnerable groups are entitled to protection. You can find the full text of the law online.


"No one is saying that they would have a right to your property, or to move in to your personal living room, take over your bedroom, etc"

No one? Not true. I am saying it. The logic of Open Borders doesn't stop at some notional line separating Mexico and the U.S. If the U.S. has no right to enforce its borders, then Alex Tabarrok has no right to a front door with a lock (please don't give me some nonsense about crime). Open Doors is just as reasonable as Open Borders. Of course, there are billions of people living in squalor who would be better off in the U.S. and everyone of them would be better off in Alex's house. Why should they be denied the opportunity to have a better life in Alex's living room and bedroom?

What possible standard of morality holds that borders are immoral, but doors are justified? Of course, that is the logic of private greed, rent-seeking, etc.. But genuine morality?

Please don’t tell me that AT is going to discriminate against them by closing his doors to those in need. I’ve got dozens of folks eager to share AT's house right now. For a very modest fee they will even cook and clean for AT. Don’t tell me that AT is some kind of closed minded bigot who would deny them an opportunity for a better life.

AT is perfectly willing to embrace Open Borders as long as he can profit from Open Borders, by sacrificing other Americans. When it comes to his home, his neighborhood, his family, his schools, etc. he is a full bore restrictionist. To quote from Gail The Teacher (again)

“Indulge in all the intellectualism you wish. It changes nothing. You are intellectually dishonest, and face it, a hypocrite. Or, surprise me by having a new baby, moving to a community like the one I’ve described, living in the neighborhood, and sending your son or daughter to the neighborhood school there.”

This is really the (not so hidden) logic of the Open Borders movement. It's just deeply personal, deeply cynical greed wrapped in a pretense of moral superiority. The Open Borders crowd wants to let in foreigners so that they can profit from them, but keep them out of their own precious neighborhoods, schools, etc. Indeed, explicit racial/ethnic segregation is at the core of the Open Borders movement. As a trivial example, Bryan Caplan boasts about his "bubble". What sort of bubble would that be?

This is not a just a U.S. phenomena. Everywhere in the world, the Open Borders crowd preaches how wonderful Open Borders really is (so they can have cheap labor, more profits, more inequality, etc.) while keeping their own homes, communities, schools, etc. sacrosanct. In a YouTube video Tino Sanandaji observed that 99% of the Swedish politicians who advocate Open Borders live in communities that are 100% ethnic Swedish. The same hypocrisy can be found in Germany, France, and of course, the USA.

The real irony is that the Open Borders movement isn't going to stop at Borders. Open Doors is already starting. Efforts are already underway in Germany and Sweden to confiscate private property to accommodate "refugees". Like it or not, this is inevitable. Does anyone really think that 100s of millions desperate foreigners are going to show up while Caplan/Tabarrok enjoy their bubble?

Why does the Open Borders crowd pretend that we can have Open Borders without Open Doors? Because they know that public tolerance for Open Borders would fall far below zero if folks understood the implications of Open Borders. Of course, if Caplan/Tabarrok had to deal with consequences of the policies they advocate, they would be singing a different tune. If they had to live in a neighborhood overwhelmed by poor immigrants, if they had to send their children to schools ravaged by poor immigrants, they would be telling us about the "wonderful economics of mine fields on our borders".


WOW! The grumpiest grump in all of grumpville grants you the +1. I'm impressed.

Thanks for sharing.

@Peter Schaeffer:

Has Open Borders among the states of the US resulted in a situation where a coal miner from West Virginia has the automatic right to squat in someone's Manhattan penthouse?

That's the killer argument right there. There IS Open Borders between states, and no Open Doors. Peter Schaeffer's argument is proven to be completely false because it already isn't true.

This question deserves an answer. Right now any American can move from any state to any other. Has that resulted in a rash of home invasions and squatting?

The disconnect seems to come from natalists believing citizens 'own' their country as if it was private property (almost a communistic collective ownership view) and open borders advocates believing that private property is a wholly different thing.

As usual, the best approach is the moderate middle. It's not a good idea to have totally open borders, and it's not a good idea to have totally closed ones. This is hard for internet discussions, especially among libertarians, who tend to be far more interested in arguments about first principles (like getting rid of the ExIm Bank....really?) than real world solutions.

"There IS Open Borders between states, and no Open Doors."

For now. Just wait until the mexican peasants are numerous enough to vote themselves more welfare via higher taxes.
Higher taxes are the precise analogy of open doors because they are the confiscation of something you earned to be used by others.

So? It's Open Borders. Just move.

"So? It’s Open Borders. Just move."

To where? They will just follow you.

In order to ensure your freedom, you have to go to a place where they cannot do that. One with border restrictions.
Youn know, like the one we have now. But, of course, with far more border restrictions and actual freedom of association.

What do you mean, follow me?

I don't have hordes of poor Americans following me around as I move across the country, coveting my property. You don't see the poor states emptying into rich states to take their stuff.


"Has Open Borders among the states of the US resulted in a situation where a coal miner from West Virginia has the automatic right to squat in someone’s Manhattan penthouse?"

No because the U.S. is still a country that enforces the idea of private property and (too some degree) borders. Abandon those ideas, and Manhattan penthouses won't be sacrosanct for long.

Note that I made two points. One is moral. They idea that penthouses have some greater claim on morality than borders is nonsense, they don't. The second one is practical. As borders break down so does property. Governments in Sweden and Germany are already beginning to go after private property to handle "refugees". Here is a typical story along these lines.

"The question is: Where will they live? More and more people are now worrying that the government will confiscate the homes of Swedes and give them to asylum seekers. In 1992, the "Threat and Risk Assessment Commission" (Hot- och riskutredningen) established that the government should have the option to seize property, especially summer homes, from the Swedish people in a time of crisis. In early September, editorial columnist Anna Dahlberg of Expressen, one of Sweden's largest dailies, urged Swedes to "make way" and "hand over the keys to their apartments to those in greater need.""


"In a letter to the municipal government, he writes that the municipality should go a step further and use the right to expropriate to seize primarily single-family homes and condominiums owned by Swedes. The homes, the municipality must then give to refugees, he says. “The whole community should join in solidarity to give received refugees housing and integration.” the letter said."

There have been open borders success scenarios, disaster scenarios, and many in between scenarios. Citing one harmless example of free migration doesn't make a strong point.

Right now any American can move from any state to any other. Has that resulted in a rash of home invasions and squatting?

The distinction in personal income per capita between West Virginia and the counties of metropolitan New York is about 1.8 to 1. The two populations speak English, have a common history, and make use of similar institutional forms which have a long pedigree.

@Peter S

Thats just stupid. The government in Sweden is in no way beginning to go after private property to hand over to refugees.

I'm a swede and beside from clueless american internet commentors I've mer absolutly no worries about upcoming confiscations.

The column by Anna Dahlberg is about the peculiar swedish picture of ourselves as somekind of moral example. She basically sats that talk about solidarity is cheap and the same goes for symbolic action like voluenteering a few times. She goes on to say that what really is needed IF we swedes shall keep going with our immigration policy (most open in the OECD) is costly, like accepting immigrants children in our middle class schools and handing over rent limited flats to those in need (in the context of middle class swedes beeing able to buy condos on the open market instead).

In other columns she is arguing for restricting the swedish immigration policy and in still others for swedes to make decisions about immigration policy with open eyes.

IF this is the standard of your other arguments then you need to stop believing yourself beeing capable to add something of value to these kinds of discussions for now.


Please don't waste your time playing the "Swedish card" with me. I don't live in Sweden and am not Swedish. However, I do have rather well-informed Swedish friends and they aren't shy about telling me what is actually happening in Sweden.

It is not pretty. Shall we discuss the IKEA murders? Did they happen, yes or no? Shall we discuss the Malmö bombings? Did they happen, yes or no? Did the police chief in Malmö say

“It is the thirtieth explosive attack since the New Year. We have a situation that is serious,”

Yes or no?

Shall we discuss "Sweden’s ugly immigration problem" (by Margaret Wente)? She has lots of unhappy statistics.

I didn't assert that the Swedish government is currently confiscating private property for "refugees". I did suggest that ideas along these lines were already being discussed. Indeed, they are. Ideas tend to be discussed before they happen.


"The distinction in personal income per capita between West Virginia and the counties of metropolitan New York is about 1.8 to 1"

Probably not true. The cost-of-living in New York is much higher. Adjusted for the COLI, perhaps 1.4 to 1 (at most).

I think those adjustments impose a particular consumption bundle on subjects. Not sure that's really valid.


Clearly we don't agree about some (many) things. However

"like getting rid of the ExIm Bank….really?"

warrants a +1. The Libertarian/Right obsession with the ExIm bank is deranged. So is the Libertarian/Right obsession with farm subsidies, trivial tariffs, etc. Much of Libertarian/Right went insane over Bush's temporary steel tariff and Obama's temporary tire tariffs.

warrants a +1. The Libertarian/Right obsession with the ExIm bank is deranged.

No it isn't deranged. The upset is that getting rid of it is an easy call. Not only do McConnell & co wish to retain it, McConnell was willing to lie to members of his caucus to make it happen.

You keep using that word "right", I don't think it means what you think it means.

This argument proves the opposite of what is intended. In fact, West Virginians and New Yorkers are members of the same culture and polity. Thus, they expect, among other things, that each will defend the others' right to ownership and possession of their own homes. The differences in values and culture between inhabitants of the various US States are not meaningful on the scales we are talking about. In general, West Virginians and New Yorkers have very similar views on private property and whether the death penalty is an appropriate penalty for homosexual conduct or apostasy. West Virginians and New Yorkers have also agreed on a political process for resolving any differences in values and "rights" which may arise. That agreement and process confers legitimacy on the outcome of any disputes.

That is not the case among, for example, Swedes and Muslims. When Muslims obtain sufficient power, they will kill, rape and enslave the Swedes. Muslims believe God wants them to kill and rape the Swedes to expand Islam. Muslims believe that the Swedes have allowed Muslims into Sweden because God wants Muslims to kill and rape the Swedes. If the Swedes were slightly less arrogant and narcissistic, they might learn enough about Muslim culture to protect themselves. But they won't. Whom the gods (or Allah) would destroy, they first make a "humanitarian superpower."

Peter - " Ideas tend to be discussed before they happen"

People are discussing almost every imaginable idea, most of which are ideas that you wouldn't even fathom if you hadn't already encountered them.

The fact that someone you know discusses something doesn't mean it's going to happen. Again, this is an exceedingly weak line of argumentation. I know you sometimes make strong points and back them up well, but do you actually think you're making a strong argument here? Ideas tend to be discussed before they happen, ergo if someone I know discussed it once or twice then I should be worried that it will happen?

Here, we're discussing open borders. Yet no one on this board, even people who like the idea in principle thinks it will happen in 100 years, or maybe 500 years, and maybe never. Does the fact that we discuss it lead you to believe that it will actually happen soon? I doubt it. Consider the same line of reasoning to absolutely absurd ideas like the Swedish state will confiscate private property to hand out to newcomers. Not in 100 years, probably not in 500, or even in a million years, or ever.

Your opposition to this idea is leading you to grasp at any possible straw. It's not going to happen in 100 years, now get a grip on reality.

@ Peter S

You don't seem to be able to get that your argument about upcoming swedish confiscations was outrigth silly. Perhaps if I reframe it?

What odds do you need to bet significant money on the state of Sweden confiscating a private home to give it to a refugee within a meningful set time?

Or if you dislike bets, whats your best prediction for the number of confiscated homes the state of Sweden will give to refugees in the next ten years?


If Sweden continues to receive migrants at the current pace, I would expect to see "takings" of private property (starting with vacation homes, unoccupied housing, etc.) within 5 years. If Sweden stops the current inflow, certainly not within 5 years.

As you probably know, ethnic Swedes will be a minority in their own country within roughly 15 years at the September 2015 migration rate. The notion that Sweden's institutions will survive intact, doesn't appear likely.

While local authorities are warning us about raised taxes to pay for the Camp of the Saints, I haven't heard of any confiscations per se in Sweden (yet). However, it is more or less happening in Germany.

"A woman in Germany is being evicted from her home of 23 years to make way for asylum-seekers, in the second such case to emerge.
Gabrielle Keller has been given until the end of the year to leave her flat in the small southern town of Eschbach, near the border with France.
The flat belongs to the local municipality, which says it is needed to house refugees."

White people are so amazing. They are like Gods. So filthy brown people will forever follow us anywhere we go, tarnishing our greatness. This is the cost of being amazingly better than everyone, and I hate them for it so much.

I hate contributing to society, for example paying taxes. This is how I prove my patriotism and love for humanity.

If someone loses their job, we should probably deport them because poverty is evidence of inferiority, not bad luck or growing up in the wrong community.

Taxation is like borders. Because borders and taxes are both about government, which I hate. But I'm patriotic. I mean, sorry, borders are good and taxes are bad. But I still hate the government because they don`t do whatever I know they should do. But I really believe in democracy. But this is fascism because they didn`t do what I told them to do.

Just be clear: whatever I think is best (especially me) is superior, and everything else is a mental disorder. But I don't have a mental disorder.


Already in Germany and coming to Sweden in time...

"Hamburglers! German City Seizes Private Property To House Refugees"

"Hamburg has become the first German city to pass a law that allows the government to seize empty commercial properties to house refugees.

The new law, which takes effect next week and will dissolve in March 2017, is a desperate solution to house the hundreds of refugees that arrive each day. The city has run out of out space for its 30,000 refugees and asylum seekers, and the law states that the government now has the right to take over commercial spaces and convert them into migrant housing temporarily when the refugee centers reach their limit.

The left-wing majority in Hamburg’s city council, consisting of the Social Democrats, the Green and Left parties, voted to pass the law with strong opposition from the minority. Katja Suding of the Free Democratic Party called it a “breach of property rights,” according to Deutsche Welle."

+2. Eloquently said. Wish there was a "like" button

You are making absurd arguments and you know it. Allowing someone to rent/buy next door is not remotely in the same order of things as a right to your living room and bed.

There are actual good arguments against open borders. Why don't you make those ones instead of the absurd one?

Nathan, you have completely and totally missed the point: it is that BY TABARROK'S OWN PRINCIPLES, he ought to be for abolishing private property as well as national borders. The fact that you find the actual consequences of Tabarrok's argument "absurd" IS EXACTLY THE POINT: so does anyone with any sense. Thus, Tabarrok's argument is rubbish.

Gene - The argument is no whatsoever about abolishing any notion of property. It is about free movement of labour.

Free movement of labour does not, in any way whatsoever, imply that someone has a right to your private property. Private property is not analogous to national borders.

Please be specific in how Tabarrok`s own principles lead you to think that he ought to be for abolishing private property.

Private property is directly and unambiguously analogous to national borders. In both cases persons have the right to exclude others from a certain location.

"Just that they can stroll into town, chat with some employers, take a job, and rent/buy where they want."

How about strolling into the local welfare office and making a claim? Or strolling into the nearest hospital and demanding free health care? Or demanding that their children be put into public education?

For that matter, the public education system is based on the notion that an educated populace is more productive and leads to a better country, and therefore it's worth paying a lot of money for. If people are free to move around the globe, what happens to our system if people come here to educate their children, then take them back home to start businesses or find employment there? Are we required to be the educators to the world? Could we afford it?

The social contract I live under says that I have to pay into social programs my entire life, and that gives me the right to use them if necessary. I get a pension because I have paid $3500/yr into the Canada pension program my entire working life. I got a 'free' primary education, but in return I have to pay education taxes even though my family no longer uses the system. That's part of the social contract. If everyone arrived just in time to put their kids in school and then buggered off as soon as the kids were out, the system would collapse.

How about someone who is 65 years old and who emigrates to Canada or America with nothing? Is he still going to be able to collect a full government pension? If not, what do we do with him? Send him home? Or put him on welfare? Oh, he didn't pay into that, either. If he gets sick, is medicaid going to cover him?

Quite obviously, if 10 million people of retirement age and with no wealth flooded into Canada, it would break our entire system in short order. Also quite obviously, we aren't going to let those people starve and die in our streets.

So how does your open borders world solve that problem?
The way I see it, 'open borders' is just the income inequality/redistribution argument extended to the country level.

As I mentioned above, internet comment boards quickly devolve into straw man massacres. I don't think many reasonable people believe in totally open borders, nor totally closed ones. But those that do seem to be the ones posting about it....

I guess the pragmatic discussion of how much and what kind of immigration should be promoted is too boring, sadly.

"I guess the pragmatic discussion of how much and what kind of immigration should be promoted is too boring, sadly."

I think a conversation that starts with the US should prioritize high skill workers has broad acceptance. The issues arise when you start talking about what to do with everyone who doesn't qualify but walks across the border anyway.

If we are going to essentially give them work visas, then we should deny them Federal benefits. But even in that case, how do you deal with the children born here, who are automatically citizens? There's no good, easy solution.

My apologies - I foolishly assumed that I was commenting in the thread called, 'The case for getting rid of borders - completely', and not the.... Oh, wait. I was. What thread did you think you were in?

Dan - the argument isn't about literally getting rid of borders. It's about 100% free movement of labour.

Concerns about access to the welfare state in a context of open borders are a very strong counter-argument. In my opinion, the best proposals I've seen below are to a) not let them have access to these services for some period of time (5 years? 20 years?, or b) addressing concerns (warranted or not) that they will nevertheless ending up costing too much money, suggest that borders would only be open to those who can pr-pay their own insurance for health and put a downpayment on some expected costs, relating to things like education.

Aside from the fact that their children will be serious burdens, there's going to be a huge push from the Democrats to get them out of second-rate citizenship and voting. And you'd be supporting it when it happens.

As an educated Canadian, I enjoy pretty open borders - just a bit of red tape. But I never expect any country except for my home country to offer me a vote or welfare benefits. In fact, it bothers me how much taxes I've paid to governments whose services I will never be allowed to use.

I dunno whether I'd support their right to vote. Not if it would undermine the welfare state and other provisions were not "reasonable". I don't really care about citizenship and voting rights of newcomers, it's all about access to the labour market.

Why? Capital moves freely, but labour doesn't. This stacks the deck unfairly.

"No one is saying that they would have a right to your property, or to move in to your personal living room, take over your bedroom, etc."

I face palm at the vacuousness of Nathan's response!

No one is saying that they would have a right to your property, or to move in to your personal living room, take over your bedroom, etc. -

Yes, Nathan, that's why they're being assholes.

No one is saying that they would have a right to your property, or to move in to your personal living room, take over your bedroom, etc.

So you've simultaneously managed to restate the point in your own words while missing it entirely?

Sometimes nonsense is all people have.

There is actually a good point in this post. Think of it this way: Here are some libertarians who think it's immoral for states to put up borders to keep others out, but they will fight to the death so that private individuals can buy that land and place fences exactly where the borders would have been. Why are privately-erected borders so sacrosanct if national borders are so immoral? It's weird to have a moral problem with enforced barriers to keep out everyone but your countrymen, only to turn around and defend barriers that keep out everyone including your countrymen.

"fight to the death so that..." - is there such a breed as a libertarian who uses violence to fight for someone else's right?

The way you reframe the question makes it far more interesting dilemma. I appeal to the natural human distaste for extreme inequalities - if someone were to manage to buy up a state-sized amount of land and assert their right over it as private property, then at the ridiculous extremes (hey, we're dealing with arguments about ridiculous extremes here, so why not entertain some more...) people would simply not recognize their right, and perhaps be indifferent to defending that private property as numerous squatters moved onto the land.

This is much different from someone squatting in your back yard, the back 40, or even on your farm of several square km or more. I'm talking real extremes, like if someone owned half the state of Texas. Who would back that man? So ... he hires his own army to defend the land as we're back at square one with a state?

Again, I think your framing of the matter, especially the last two sentences, is altogether more useful for discussing potential inconsistencies with the idea, compared to the notion that it's analogous to someone having the right to squat in your suburban backyard or help themselves to your spare bedroom (and if they have the right to the spare bedroom, then why not the right to share your bed, if we are really going to take this analogy as far as it can be taken)..

Why wouldn't people recognize that right? I think you might be projecting (not intended as an insult). The property owner could maintain rule enforcement mechanisms as well as anyone else. A company of mercenaries with automatic weapons, basic armored vehicles and handheld explosives wouldn't have any trouble ending disorganized attempts to abrogate the owner's property rights even en masse, and if such attempts are organized you're talking about an entirely different ballgame.

Regarding the likelihood of private property purchases evolving into governments, this is how Israel got started. Look into "stockade and watchtower" Zionism.

One argument would be that roads predated governments, and have always been public property to used by anyone, and that when our ancestors came and joined a country were roads were free for everyone to use. Now I have rights to my land but I also have some right to use public roads, so if I invite a non-citizen to come to my property and work for me or visit me and i would like to have him use the roads that I have rights to, maybe I even go pick him up at the boarder, why do I not have that right. Perhaps you could even argue that he pay a gas tax on the gas in his tank if he drove across the boarder but why cannot I transfer my rights to the roads to him?

Which road anywhere predated a government? (I think this is peripheral to your general statement though ...).

I have an expansive view of what roads are, I do not mean paved roads. Even animals have paths that they use.

Fair enough. Indeed, I have almost gotten lost several times while hiking after starting off on an animal path, which I mistook for the legitimate path. Because of this problem, most hiking pathways (at least in Canada) are marked with coloured ribbons tied to trees every 20-30m or so.


Trails predated governments. Roads did not. Some trails predated humans. The Romans (and others) built roads. The Romans had a government.

Then they lost control of their borders and didn't...

Predictably, the roads fell apart as well.

I guess it depends on your definition of the word road.:

"The first forms of road transport were horses, oxen or even humans carrying goods over tracks that often followed game trails, such as the Natchez Trace.[1] In the Stone Age humans did not need constructed tracks in open country. The first improved trails would have been at fords, mountain passes and through swamps.[2] The first improvements would have consisted largely of clearing trees and big stones from the path. As commerce increased, the tracks were often flattened or widened to accommodate human and animal traffic. Some of these dirt tracks were developed into fairly extensive networks, allowing communications, trade and governance over wide areas. The Incan Empire in South America and the Iroquois Confederation in North America, neither of which had the wheel, are examples of effective use of such paths."

"Think of it this way: Here are some libertarians who think it’s immoral for states to put up borders to keep others out, but they will fight to the death so that private individuals can buy that land and place fences exactly where the borders would have been."

You may think those two situations are equivalent, but they're actually completely different. If borders were completely replaced by fences built by owners of the land on the border, people could still come into the country on the roads between those fences. And even if the roads were blocked, people could still fly into the country--over those private properties--by airplane. So the two situations are completely different, because the government not only blocks the roads, but also prohibits people from flying in airplanes over the borders.

"Why are privately-erected borders so sacrosanct if national borders are so immoral?"

Because I have the right to keep people out of my home and property. I don't have the right to keep people out of other people's homes and properties.

Privately erected borders are persons A, B, and C keeping people out of land owned by persons A, B, and C. But national borders are persons A, B, and C keeping people out of land owned by persons D, E, and F, even if persons D, E, and F would like to sell or rent their land to persons X, Y, and Z (from another country).

You're right w/r to private propterty but ignore that nations have public infrastructure, security, cleanliness, politics etc.

"You’re right w/r to private property but ignore that nations have public infrastructure, security, cleanliness, politics etc."

Yes, there is public infrastructure, like roads. Again, however, persons A, B, and C don't have any legitimate right to "vote" that persons X, Y, and Z may not use the roads. If the costs of roads go up (because persons X, Y, and Z are now traveling on them), the government should just raise tolls on the roads (or taxes).

Mark, I think you're underestimating that certain organizational functions work only if indeed nations can decide to exclude 6+ billion people living elsewhere from using and disturbing national functions. Politics among them.

Also remember that the number of potential people is limitless, within a nation you can somewhat steer the incentives for reproduction to lower or increase birth rates, but you can't combine that with open borders.

Because I have the right to keep people out of my home and property. I don’t have the right to keep people out of other people’s homes and properties. -

But we have the right to keep people out of our property.

But if I invite a person from another country to come and work at my house and to use my share of the roads and public infrastructure to get to my property, do you have the right to stop them? I think Elizabeth Warren would say that she does have the right to stop them because she considers any use of public infrastructure to give complete rule over my assets by the majority of voters. To her majority rule she is pretty literally a democrat.

I think you are allowed to do that even under the current system.

No you are not. I cannot hire a person from outside the USA to come to my house to care for my children or an elderly person.

BTW IMHO A better argument for not opening boarders is Tyler Cowen's argument that you might destroy the system that allows us to live so well and even helps those in poor countries through trade and innovation.

I agree with Tyler's argument. I don't understand why so many people are taking open borders to the most absurd possible logical extreme as a mode of argumentation, which such strong arguments exist against open borders.

I like the idea, and hope we can find a way to resolve contradictions and challenges to the welfare state by 100% labour mobility, but it is clear that no one has yet to come up with realistic solutions to these problems.

So Nathan refuses to read "open borders" as "open borders" and then wonders why people oppose it

I am reminded of legal precedent in the United States regarding freedom of association. The precedent is that the First Amendment guarantees freedom of association, AND that freedom of association requires that private organizations be able to decide who may or may not join.

For if they do not have this right, and if the organization is controlled by its members, then any organization (and all that organization owns) can be expropriated by an influx of new members if their numbers are sufficient to gain control of the organization and even if their aims are antithetical to those of the organization.

What is a nation, if not a sovereign organization united by recognized borders, language(s), and cultures?

Bryan Caplan addresses that argument by saying do not give the immigrants the right to vote. That is allow them to come and work here but do not allow them to become part of the club.

They do not allow the University's hourly staff to vote at faculty meetings. I'm sure we can readily replicate that across the whole political system.

Strange how that's always secondary to the main point of OPEN BORDERS. The tiny detail of eliminating the franchise for immigrants somehow gets lost. I would be totally in favor of such a system by the way (that also prevents anchor babies) but it's not going to happen. True open borders and the destruction of the American nation is many times more likely.

Oh yeah. Importing a large class of metics and helots sounds like a plan.

Metics but not helots. I have no problem with people who want to come here and work legally. That I think is a trillion dollar bill lying on the table. In my opinion the problem is with the changes in culture/politics caused by a large number of permanent immigrants from disparate cultures.


Open Borders by abolishing Democracy. What a plan.

What about the labourers' children, born on American soil? Perhaps that will become a problem only in the long run, i.e., after Caplan is dead.

Excellent, Beetlebum! Private property is quite obviously the largest barrier to "freedom of movement" on the planet.

Unfortunately, the current U.S. immigration system seems to be the best that is politically achievable.

When supply-siders talk about Open Borders, they aren't interested in human rights at all; most supply-siders are more than happy to let children starve to death in the name of a small government. What they ARE interested in is manipulating the scales of supply and demand. keep the supply of labor high, so that costs remain low.

This view seems really silly to me. Why would any group whatsoever have an ideological commitment to low costs? I understand that business-owners may have a selfish interest in low costs, but what makes you think academic supply-side economists would have any interest in ideologically aligning with low costs?

@RPLong - R U trolling? What Just Saying says is quite conventional wisdom. The supply siders are indeed in favor of MR = MC with perfect competition, which means zero profits for everybody, but in practice one corporation becoming a sort of natural monopoly due to lower costs and taking over the world. Think Tysons Food, Walmart, FedEx, etc.

Take chicken farming for example: I cannot (as a backyard chicken farmer who has several 100 birds, and counting, hope to reach 1000) compete with Tyson Foods or Perdue Foods in the USA (the supply siders have won), but, here in the Philippines, I'm making a nice profit, flying under the radar of Bounty chicken and other such mid-sized but not entirely low-cost producers.

BTW, Filipinos work--and work hard--for about $2 to $5 a day. Ready to rock your little world when and if you open your borders, hehehe.

RL, please read more carefully. Nothing that you said substantiates the claim that "What [supply-siders] ARE interested in is manipulating the scales of supply and demand. keep the supply of labor high, so that costs remain low," nor does it address my criticism of it.


"BTW, Filipinos work–and work hard–for about $2 to $5 a day. Ready to rock your little world when and if you open your borders, hehehe."

We have substantial Filipino immigration to the U.S. They are not particularly successful in the U.S. A well known lady, Amy Chua, wrote a rather good book, "World on Fire", about ethnic conflicts around the world. The book starts with ethnic conflicts in the Philippines where her family is from (she is actually part Filipino). For better or worse, Filipinos aren't that successful even in the Philippines (compared to the Chinese). More consequentially, the Philippines has never been an Asian Tiger and doesn't show any signs of becoming one.

Anyone reading the book would/should recognize the potential for ethnic conflicts in any country, including the USA. We don't need to import ethnic conflicts.

No doubt poor Filipinos could take jobs from poor working Americans. That's the last thing this nation needs.

PS-you show no imagination. By your logic, South Korea would remain poor. But as for your last sentence, why do you think giving a poor working American a job will keep you, presumably a rich American, from having this person resent you? You need to understand how rich and poor interact, it's not just a subtle bribe by way of a menial job that keeps the poor from harming you. It's stuff like CCTV, police presence, broken glass on top of high fences, and other such stuff they already figured out in countries with no middle class. Wake up and smell the coffee.


"By your logic, South Korea would remain poor."

Did I missing something here. Are the people living in South Korea really Filipinos? Who knew? Why didn't someone tell me?

For all of these years I have been deluded in thinking that the people in South Korea were actually Koreans. I once visited South Korea and the people looked like Koreans to me. Perhaps they were all wearing masks.

Now I understand.

"You need to understand how rich and poor interact, it’s not just a subtle bribe by way of a menial job that keeps the poor from harming you. It’s stuff like CCTV, police presence, broken glass on top of high fences, and other such stuff they already figured out in countries with no middle class. Wake up and smell the coffee."

Restrictionists, such as myself, frequently argue that Open Borders will turn America into "Brazil with nukes". Thank you for confirming our suspicions.

Before mass immigration, CCTV and "broken glass on top of high fences" were rather rare in America. Now they are much more common. In my opinion, the most devastating critique of mass immigration is that it withers the soul of a nation. Thank you for confirming the argument.

Peter, CCTV has become common everywhere. It has nothing to do with "mass immigration" and everything to do with a) increased technology and b) the success of efforts to normalize the idea that mass surveillance is a good thing.


"Peter, CCTV has become common everywhere"

Even in Canada? Actually, I suppose even in Canada. However, the substance of my debate with RL is that he regards a society where the wealthy living in gated communities with "broken glass on top of high fences" as some sort of moral, ethical, and economic apogee. He also believes that his vision of paradise can be obtained via Open Borders.

He is correct about the second part. However, his notion of utopia is my dystopia.

Not a matter of right and wrong. Some people view extreme inequality as a goal. Others don't.


The Libertarian Open Border's crowd wants to abolish the welfare-state, at least for foreigners. They advocate doing so with some regularity. Whenever anyone points out "you can't have Open Borders with a welfare state", they reply "we can abolish the welfare state".

I agree that you have accurately described a significant number of open borders advocates. I disagree that this implies that they are ideologically committed to low costs at the expense of starving children. Meaning, of course, that open borders is not synonymous with "low costs" and "abolish the welfare state" is not synonymous with "starving children." That's just a lot of polemics, really.

"[Libertarians] reply “we can abolish the welfare state”."

Only if you can abolish democracy. Poorly educated immigrants and their descendants would almost certainly vote for an expanded welfare state. Look at California.

Just so I understand you correctly, your thesis is that California was a bastion of the American free market until all the immigrants went in there and turned it into a welfare state? Approximately what year would you say this process began?

Republicans could win elections in California in the 80s and in earlier decades. Thanks to illegal immigration, those days are over. What has happened in California is happening nationwide. The mass importation of poverty, illiteracy, and innumeracy is not only killing the future of the Republican party, it is also killing the future of the honest center right.

Notice I did not say all the immigrants. Immigrants who are better educated than the average American--as a group, have normal political views and have kids who do well in school.

Okay, so then it sounds like what you are saying is that the State of California did not have an expansive welfare state, relative to the rest of the country, until the 1990s, when illegal immigrants made it impossible for the Republican Party to win major elections.

That's a good, solid empirical claim. How does it stand up to analysis? Were California welfare programs smaller than the US average in the 1980s? Did illegal immigrants use the power of their electoral votes to change this?

Obviously this is true. Illegal immigrants vote all the time. (Republican folklore)

Their friends and family do

Arabs to Israel! Haitians to the Dominican Republic! Chinese to Tibet!

Chinese to Vietnam as well, right?

Nope, Vietnamese are moving to China.

I hadn't heard that, but it seems that with open borders China would have an easier answer than artificial islands. Just nudge 50 million people south.

Open borders changes immigration to a scale that is different in kind. Migrations, as with Europeans to North America, bring big changes. Had natives the power to impose immigration rules, they would have done much better.

China will have a declining population soon. There is no pressure to build artificial islands to house people. I'm not sure where you got that impression

Those are only built to assert control over some area for military and possible economic reasons.

You aren't following. The islands, and the 50M shift, would both be for territorial influence.

Nope, Vietnamese *have* moved to Arlington County, Virginia, which is technically the smallest county in the USA, and to SoCal, parts of Texas, and probably a few other places.

You read Scott Sumner's blog, so you know they are also moving to China.

It's not even the smallest county in Virginia

It would give Jews a perfect post factum rationale for moving en masse to Biblical Israel, which did not rely on the decision a former global empire to give the land away and a current global empire to protect them.

Why would Arabs move to Israel if they could go anywhere?


It is close to where they already live.

They have family there.

They hate the jews.

They have romantic feelings about the area, because they used to live there.

They have romantic feelings about the area, because they used to live there.

Yasser Arafat grew up in Cairo. So did Edward Said. There's a lesson in there somewhere.

What's your logic. Two famous Palestinians grew up elsewhere, ergo no Arabs have family/historical ties to Jerusalem?


Israeli law already allows Jews to move to Israel. Israel has Open Borders for Jewish immigrants. Israel has high fences and guards for everyone else. Israel deports illegals including bogus "refugees".

"Why would Arabs move to Israel if they could go anywhere?"

Because Israel is much richer than its neighbors and is closer than Europe, the USA, etc. Israel is a classic example of a state that would be dead in years, with Open Borders. Canada wouldn't last long either.

Because Israel is much richer than its neighbors and is closer than Europe, the USA, etc.

That has not traditionally proven to be sufficient reason for people to immigrate. People want to move to places where they feel they will be welcome and not face discrimination. That's why the current mass of refugees in Europe all seem to want to decamp to Germany and Sweden; the population (and not just the leaders) of those countries have signaled their tolerance. None of the other countries in Europe, however "nice" seem to be targets for these refugees.

Um, no. Germany and Sweden are much more affluent than Serbia and Bulgaria. The cultural barriers are not too different.

@Art Deco:

That's right, but based on what I've read, they don't seem to want to go to France and the UK either. And there were people complaining about Finland being too cold, boring, and unwelcoming.


Israel has been forced to build and defend large and long fences to keep out unwanted foreigners. Some try to enter Israel to kill. Others simply want to live in a country richer than Somolia or Egypt (which they pass through). Israel didn't build these fences on a whim. They cost real money. They were only built because they were needed.

India is building a fence along its border with Bangladesh. Why would India do that? Clearly not on a whim I can't say how successful India will be with its fence. However, India clearly has its reasons. So do many, many other countries.

"That’s right, but based on what I’ve read, they don’t seem to want to go to France and the UK either."

Are you aware of the ongoing fights by French police to keep refugees out of the Chunnel?

"Thousands of Refugees Are Camped Out at the Entrance to the ‘Chunnel,’ Desperate to Sneak Into England"

That has not traditionally proven to be sufficient reason for people to immigrate. People want to move to places where they feel they will be welcome and not face discrimination.

Are you fucking kidding me? I haven't read the entire thread, but I'm guessing this will be the most delusional post.

Israel would be overrun by Arabs and the Jews slaughtered within a matter of months of open borders. The Jews don't need any rationale nor did anyone give them their land.

"which did not rely on the decision a former global empire to give the land away and a current global empire to protect them."

-Ever heard of the Province of Yehud?

Interesting. Ever heard of living memory being more relevant than 3000 year old history?

You're talking about people still butthurt about the Crusades

Russians back to Russia!

Nah, I'm good in the US thanks.

I'd much rather have Mexicans than Russians.

You're in luck then.

I must have just imagined Brighton Beach then.

Since you mention Israel, for the past few weeks in Israel there have been several random stabbing attacks each day by Arabs against Jews walking down the street in broad daylight.

Today there were 2 such attacks in Raanana, as well as a run-people-over-and-then-start-stabbing attack in Jerusalem and a shooting/stabbing attack on a Jerusalem bus.

When this type of thing reaches the US, the open borders talk will stop.

Knives? We should be so lucky.

+1, LOL. In Israel you have to prepare for such things, it's not uncommon. It used to be not uncommon in South Korea too, with commandos from North Korea on a suicide mission, infiltrating and killing as many people as possible. But people overrate violence. When's the last time you had to step over a dead body? Well, it has happened to people I know walking in DC, but it's generally pretty rare. Most immigrants are risk takers, but not crazies. Think the Conquistadors. They were reckless, feckless, risk-takers, but not random violence crazy, at least most of them. And Mexico and the Philippines, both fruits of their loins, turned out pretty well, so plus one for Open Borders, 1492 edition.

Some of those people were North Koreans, but not all of them. The current South Korean government pretends otherwise in an attempt to let bygones be bygones regarding bad past experiences in rooting out Communist sympathisers in the south.

And Mexico and the Philippines, both fruits of their loins, turned out pretty well

If you want to use Mexico and the Philippines as open borders success stories...

people seem to be getting shot here all the goddamned time and yet meaningful gun control is off the table.

Go ahead and change your constitution.

Nothing in the constitution prohibits gun control

... So are you actually retarded, or what?

It is within the Constitution. The precedent was made in 1934. The National Firearms Act (NFA) defines a number of categories of regulated firearms, and that regulation has never been rendered unconstitutional.

Significant changes in gun law are possible by nudging those regulations and categories.

No, it's really not. There's only so far you can 'nudge' before you run afoul of the constitution.

It has been determined that the right to own a gun is an individual right enshrined in the constitution. You can play around on the fringes with background checks and such, but the minute you get to the point where you are actually refusing to allow people to own guns, you will be slapped down by the courts. There have been many such lawsuits recently, and the gun controllers almost always lose. That includes cities that have tried to impose their own gun laws. They've been struck down as unconstitutional.

Given that there are over 300 million privately owned guns in the United States, and they cannot be confiscated without running afoul of the constitution, there is no American 'gun control' that will ever seriously limit general access to guns.

These kinds of things are likely to arise from time to time after 50 years of military occupation.

They've been offered one deal after another which they've rejected. You're too stupid to notice.

Yes, offer them shoddy deals and then claim that it's all their fault.

It convinces comes people. You are one of them.

Yes, offer them shoddy deals and then claim that it’s all their fault.

No, they were offered acceptable deals, and better than what they had. And they made no counter-offers.

You're a slave to your own dopey narratives.

Acceptable to whom?

Here, I've got a deal for you. I get what I want, and you live with it. Deal or no deal?

Acceptable to whom?

Acceptable to anyone whose practical aim was self-government and economic development. The difficulty you have on the West Bank and Gaza is that those things are preferred by about 1/3 of the population. The rest have rather uglier and stupider objects, something quite plain to someone cursorily familiar with the politics of the place.

Ranaana is not under military occupation. In case you don't know, Ranaana is a nice suburb of Tel-Aviv known for its American ex-pats and other English speakers

By the way Israel would love to give the occupied territories away to anyone who would take them but even the occupants do not want it.

Oh, the occupants want the territories. They also want their Jewish neighbors dispossessed or dead. There was a whole string of surveys undertaken of the West Bank and Gaza and available on Polling the Nations. Essentially, north of a third of the Arab population thereupon thinks that a 'solution' must include dissolution of the state of Israel. Another 30% maintains as a non-negotiable an insistence that a seven-figure population of Arabs (fuzzily defined) must have a franchise to settle in Israel at will ('right of return'). Those are not positions you maintain if you have any interest in a modus vivendi with someone. There's a reason the whole Oslo business was such a debacle, a reason that Abbas rejected the last offer he got from Ehud Olmert out of hand, a reason that Arafat rejected the Camp David Accords. A deal is not what they want. Nathan babbles blithely on as if that reality simply was not there.

Right, they refuse to become their own nation in just the territories where they live.

For some reason, I doubt the network of walls, military check-points, barbed wire, and illegal settlements across the West Bank is entirely in line with the idea of open borders.


Random migrant violence has taken off in Sweden of late. A migrant murdered two Swedes with a knife back in August. The attack took place in an IKEA. IKEA has now banned knives. The IKEA murders are notorious. However, the bombing campaign in Malmo (along with machine gun attacks) is more serious.

The real problem with the Open Borders mentality is that it is based on a Blank-Slate model of humanity. The Blank-Slate is total BS of course. However, it is also the reigning religion of the elite.

Anedoctes are not data...

Plenty of data in Sweden.

But as we have seen the last couple of months, anecdotes can readily be used to flood the EU with random migrants. It's a meltdown of the democracies.

In a country that used to have what, about about 50 murders per year, it does not take a lot of anecdotes to turn into data

No, it's based on the college campus model of society. You have the faculty, who have an affinity for each other regardless of certain ascribed characteristics (those are like food flavors); you have the administration, who generally do what the faculty want eventually but are ill regarded by that faculty (rather how faculty look upon politicians); you have the clientele, who have no status and will garner no status and only odd and episodic chances to injure the faculty; and you have the college staff ("emmets" if they're in blue collar trade jobs), who are there to help faculty but are otherwise disposable and not worth bothering with. For the professoriate, the local wage-earners are just pairs of hands and the students are the subject of deep ambivalence. Bryan Caplan makes his indifference to the wage-earning element in NoVa explicit. What's maddening is that these people have the audacity to strike moral poses at the rest of us.


Anecdotes aren't data. However, let's see what the police chief in Malmo had to say. Quote from "Sweden’s 3rd largest city hit by multiple blasts, police plead for help to tackle violence spike"

"“It is the thirtieth explosive attack since the New Year. We have a situation that is serious,” said the Malmö police chief, Stefan Sintéus, about the explosion on Friday, as quoted by the on Saturday.

The local police have called for expert help from the national police operational department. “We have asked for shared expertise on various issues,” said Lars Förstell, a spokesperson for the city’s police, as quoted by the media.

This week’s unrest continues a series of numerous shootings, explosions and arsons that have occurred since the beginning of the year in Malmo, infamous for high crime rates, multi-ethnic and gang-related violence."

I know this is generally a weak line of thinking, but I think it's a fair question given that the perpetrators have generally not been found...

How many of those bombs are set off by Muslims and how many are set off by people who don't like Muslims and who know it will be blamed on Muslims so long as they don't get caught? I wouldn't put it past neo-Nazis to engage in a series of victimless bombings in order to stir up public sentiment against Muslims. Stranger things have happened.

In short - you are jumping to conclusions.

You are grasping at straws.

There is no such thing as a "human right": it's sheer poppycock. Man is a social animal and so his rights are part of the society of which he is a member. "Civil rights" is a pretty good name for them.

> Man is a social animal and so his rights are part of the society of which he is a member

Watch it there dearieme ... or next thing you know the government will be telling you that _it_ is the source of any rights that you have (or don't have) and that they can take your rights away from you if they want to.

You don't want to go there.

I think you might be contradicting yourself when you say "social animal" and then instead "part of the society ..."

Social animals do not have arbitrary rule sets, dependent on the group, and independent of the species. And in fact "fairness" standards are observed across simian societies.

Human rights are not a natural property of the universe. Human rights are whatever we agree they are. Like freedom of expression, non-slavery, freedom of movement, etc. In a world where we prioritize the notion that everyone should get some amount of opportunity, it is not unreasonable to suppose that a basic education is a human right as well. The case can be made for any others.

Like borders, they are not real, but could hardly be more real.

Not an inherent property of the universe, but very real.

While I believe human nature, indeed simian nature, shows broad similarities

What happen when you give one monkey cucumbers but grapes for another monkey

I also agree that a nation-state is a organizing principle dependent on individual investment. Open boarders breaks investment, invites both free riders and disruption.

Who is the free rider again? The immigrant or the native-born person who benefits from the work of previous generations?

Natives can be free riders, but the goal of immigration policy is to avoid more.

Countries with point systems (1 for under 30, 1 for university education, etc.) are explicitly seeking high productivity workers.

The previous generations who just 'happen' to be his ancestors.

The fact that you raise the possibility (with a straight face) that the immigrant whose ancestors had absolutely nothing to do with the accumulation of social and cultural capital of the country is not a free ride speaks tons about your (missing) intellectual capabilities.

John - you are free-riding on the contributions of your ancestors too.

Going back far enough in history, we could argue that everyone is free-riding on everybody, especially the incredible feats of humans 50,000 years ago to survive, which we all "benefit" from.

Why should you have more right to free-ride on our collective ancestry and efforts than someone else, who was simply born in a less fortuitous circumstance?

"you are free-riding on the contributions of your ancestors too."

If you actually had any sort of reading comprehension, you would have seen that I did not claim the contrary.

"Why should you have more right to free-ride on our collective ancestry and efforts than someone else, who was simply born in a less fortuitous circumstance?"

Because my ancestors are not his ancestors.
Because my ancetors would not have wanted this but would have send the invaders back with axes in their skulls.
Because I do not care about people with whom I do not have and do not wish to have anything in common.

And I don't care about you and people like you, despite the fact that we were born on the same side of an imaginary line.

What are you going to do after Trump drops out? Rant on Facebook about cuckservatives? Have fun with that, while me and people like me decide what laws the US will have.

And I don’t care about you and people like you, despite the fact that we were born on the same side of an imaginary line

We know that.

Fantastic. Now please go DIAF.

Thanks for sharing.

"And I don’t care about you and people like you, despite the fact that we were born on the same side of an imaginary line."

I'm not from the US but nice try douche.

"What are you going to do after Trump drops out? Rant on Facebook about cuckservatives?"

White nationalists in the US should use technolgy to effectively secede from society. When the state is obsolete in its current form in 20 years, they should form their own states. It's happening no matter whether cucks and morons like you like it or not.

"Have fun with that, while me and people like me decide what laws the US will have."

You decide nothing. The people who actually decide anything in the US don't write comments on blogs.

John - Gee, and I thought Art could be grumpy.

Why don't you go for a long walk, buy a kebab, ask the seller which country they're originally from, then do your best to tell them that they are very welcome in your country, and also express your best wishes that the future will be amazing in their country of origin.

The words will be hard to force through your teeth. But then try it again tomorrow, and the next day (perhaps exchanging the kebab for a felafel or a chicken and rice dish).

I promise, by next week you will be a happier man.

Yawn. Millennialists of a different stripe. Your shtick was old 2000 years ago.

In 20 years when your apocalypse hasn't arrived are you going to revise it to twenty years from then? Maybe your white nationalists post-collapse state can run on commercially viable fusion.

What an angry man. Life must suck for you.

Have you ever considered counselling for anger problems? Seriously, if you would be happier bashing someone's head in than having a short and pleasant conversation with them, then you probably need medication or counselling.

Live will be better that way.

Wait, I've got this. "You didn't build that, somebody else did."

To answer your question, it's the immigrant.

You guys clearly can`t read. You`re so stupid that you don`t agree with me.

I refuse to be cucked. Instead, I will back in the glory of by supremacy and extremism. Because this will make things better.

John - "I enjoy terrorizing and smashing losers like you."

Perhaps it's a genetic flaw? Or maybe you just had the wrong friends. Oh well, at least there aren't too many people like you.

I still think counseling would be a good idea.

Maybe, but denying a human being the right to live in your country exclusively due to their passport is immoral.

Would a Chimpanzee agree? Or would they shake branches and make you run away?

Deep values.

We have advanced since then. Simian studies may tell us interesting things about our base impulses, but are rarely useful for telling us about sensible ways to organize things in the modern day.

The worst mistake a man can make is to think he has left monkey behind, as 100s of daily decisions are made by monkey brain. Monkey Economics

Yes, we have monkey brains in many senses. But when our monkey brains pose problems at the collective level, we have the ability to develop formal (government) and informal (moral education) institutions which help to minimize these issues.

"Sensible ways of organizing things in the modern day" is what got us in this mess, isn't it?

No it is not.

Demanding the right to live in another country, and thereby enjoy what they have created, is immoral.

You can ask kindly, if they will let you in. You can tell them about what you have to offer. Maybe they will give you access.

But demanding the right to enter is immoral.

I knew people in the Deep South who used to carry (and I've seen them) "This Man is White" cards that would agree with you, Beetlebum. So you're in 'good company' with these Klansmen. How's that robe fit on your pointy little head?

You didn't create any of that.

Why should you have any more right to it than anyone else?

My family and I created some of it. We immigrated legally and were accepted by the existing citizens.

Denying a human being the right to live in your house exclusively due to their lack of money is immoral.

Or rather, simply stating that something is immoral doesn't make it so.

Denying a human being the right to live in your house still leaves that person "the whole world" minus "the area of your house" = (approx.) the whole world. Denying that person the right to live in your country leaves that person "the whole world" minus "the area of your country" = "an area significantly less than the inhabitable land area available in the world".

So it is not a principle objection just one of the degree of exclusion.
Now, open-border pseudolibertarains, please explain what totalitarian entity will enforce the correct amount of territorial exclusion we are allowed to practice and how.


I'm not an Open Borders advocate; just running thought experiments and pointing out logical fallacies if I find any.

As for your question, nation states (generally speaking) are able to enforce a correct amount of exclusion for their residents, aren't they? Within nations, states are able to enforce exclusive laws within their territories. Why can't this federal model be extrapolated to the entire world?

The world minus your house is not very restrictive.

The world minus anywhere except for where you were born is VERY restrictive.

Your analogy is not at all sound.

"The world minus your house is not very restrictive.
The world minus anywhere except for where you were born is VERY restrictive."

And who exactly made you the final arbiter on what should and should not be considered very restrictive?
Also, the argument requires to explain why you should care about the degree of restriction and not the absolute fact of its existence.
Now, pseudolibertarian cuck, "please explain what totalitarian entity will enforce the correct amount of territorial exclusion we are allowed to practice and how"

Yes John, I very obviously claim to be the final arbiter. I am not making arguments and sharing opinions, I am dictating to you what you must believe.

FYI - except for when speaking to radical rightists, any of these silly uses of the word "cuck" just make you look like an extremist who thinks they can shame people into extremism.

"any of these silly uses of the word “cuck” just make you look like an extremist who thinks they can shame people into extremism."

Yeah, I don't really give a fuck about how lolobertarian morons and cucks view me.

John - Who pissed in your cornflakes?

I know this is usually meant offensively, but really I mean the best ... you clearly have some anger and hate problems. I suggest putting up a note in the bathroom that says "smile at 10 people today and say HI". First you will feel stupid, but soon it will feel normal and you will be a much happier man for it.

And please resist the urge to express how angry it makes you that I said this.

Mind your own business, NW. I hate smiling. It makes me feel weak and pathetic.

To show my strength and superiority, I prefer to puff my chest about how my genetic composition is far superior to that of people I've never met.

Smiling is for weak people. Chest puffing is an act of genetic superiority. This is how I know I'm real smrt and better than cucks. Stupid cucks - they don't know that truth always lies at the outside 1% of extremism and hate, and that's why they will always be cucks.

Nice try, John2 cuck.
You are such a pathetic loser that you feel the need to hide your inferiority behind other's usernames.

I refuse to be cucked.

I will bask in my superiority and extremism to my dying days, before I waste my time to understand other perspectives. Because if I take them seriously, I might get cucked.

I would rather die than be cucked, so I choose my information sources seriously. Especially, I refuse to read anything I disagree with except for the pre-meditated purpose of ripping it to shreds.

This is how I got so smrt.

My skin colour makes me smrt.

I think with my skin. That`s what makes me better than you.

So for sufficiently small countries, closed borders are acceptable? How small, exactly?

By what moral standard and why should I be forced to adopt it?

By the same moral standard that has given us women's rights, civil rights, etc..

So, the same moral standard responsible for the death of the european people and the fact that they are losing the game of evolution by sheer numbers?
Thanks, I think I will pass. As any person with a working brain would.

I imagine your brain works OK, but most people with working brains disagree with you.

Mixing genes is not an evolutionary loss. It is natural.

"Mixing genes is not an evolutionary loss. It is natural."

When you are embracing policies that reduce your evolutionary success and reduce the percentage of your genes in the whole human genome, you are clearly losing.
That's how evolutionary competition between members of an apex predator species works.
Maybe you should not speak of things that are beyond your intellectual grasp?

"but most people with working brains disagree with you"

Most people are clueless morons so that really does not mean much.

No genes are lost. Just better mixed. It is a healthy and natural process.

"Better mixed"??? = reduced frequency in the gene pool??

"No genes are lost. Just better mixed. "

Maybe learn to read?
"When you are embracing policies that reduce your evolutionary success and reduce the percentage of your genes in the whole human genome, you are clearly losing."

How low is your IQ exactly?

So one needs to try to wrap his tiny violent mind around the distinction between is and ought.

"between is and ought"

You are either an absolute moral nihilist or you accept that "winning" in the evolutionary sense is the only possible and meaningful value. All other position are idiotic and logically inconsistent.

Go preach your humean crap to someone who has not read Hume. I'm sure you haven't so in that way you will not be at a disadvantage.

Cliff - consider this. Take 100 white people and 100 black people. They completely intermarry. The gene frequency is identical, just distributed more evenly. There is no reduction in the gene frequency.

Can't everyone just agree to ignore John?


I thought the relevance was differential birthrates?

"I thought the relevance was differential birthrates?"

That + the fact that virtually all immigrants are non-white. But the cucks are not very strong in logical terms.

I hate democracy, because sometimes it makes decisions that I disagree with. This is how I prove my patriotism.

Poor people are such a waste of air. But I love them so much that illegal immigration bothers me. So many stupid cucks here don't know how to use logic.

So most countries are deeply immoral.

America is already pretty open. So is Europe.

You'd think the focus of the open borders people would move ot the low hanging fruit of countries that are not very open at all.


Denying a human being the right to live in your home/apartment based on some notion of "property" is immoral.

Please post pictures showing how you have shared your personal bastion of privilege with a dozen immigrants from Somolia, Eritrea, Mexico, etc. Until we see the pictures, you are just another greedy poseur all too eager to profit from exploiting immigrants while keeping them a safe distance from your community, your schools, your life.

I dont understand this argument. I dont want to live with another immigrant for the same reason that i dont want to live with a randomly selected citizen in my appartment. Another thing is to let somebody move to your country. I dont say they should have right to anything else. Its their job to earn it. Ok, if you are talking about Singapure i can understand very small area needs to limit imigration but Australia or US?


No one is claiming that you have to live with randomly selected immigrants. Just pick a dozen Somolians, Eritreans, Mexicans, etc. that you happen to like. Post the pictures. Please show us how you are enjoying life in an immigrant slum. Please don't be one of the greedy, cynical poseurs who wants Open Borders so that they can personally profit by exploiting cheap labor, but demands all of the power of the state to defend your personal privileges and keep the immigrants a safe distance from your community, your schools, your life.

You are perfectly willing to ravage the lives of ordinary Americans (and/or Europeans) who don't have the ability to keep themselves and their families inside a "bubble". Show us that you really care. Show us how you are willing to accept the sacrifices you are eager to impose on everyone else. So far, you are just another greedy hypocrite with the usual "Open Borders for thee, but not me".

You can do better. Post the pictures. Be a real caring person.

Do you hate immigrants so much that you think it's equivalent to share your apartment with them and for them to move in next door? In your mind, these are equivalent statements?

It is normal to want ones private space and to share it with no one but perhaps close family, but it is also normal to go out into the streets and meet different people.

There is no analogy between letting different people move in next door and sharing my apartment with them. None. At all.

Arguing that we should allow people to rent next door and obtain employment in our companies is in no way whatsoever analogous to inviting them personally into your home.

There is no hypocrisy here. I suppose you think you raise a strong argument, but it only seems so when preaching to your choir.

Arguing that we should let people into our property is not analogous to arguing that we should let people into our property?

Time to tell Mexico that

Does morals have any meaning to modern man except as a way to scream at people on Twitter and feeling good about it?

dearieme wrote:

"I do not have such a thing as a human right"


And quite right I am. I have only my civil rights. They have the great advantage that it's clear who has the duty of defending/enforcing them, namely me and the other members of my society, who equally expect me to help enforce/defend theirs. Who has the burden of enforcing "Human Rights"? Nobody, of course. Not a soul.

A case can be made that we now live in a "global society", that everyone living in this society is entitled to civil rights.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls...

If only. In a while it seems likely you will only have the rights your ethnic group can secure for you.

Oliver Wendell Holmes quipped that the right to free expression stops at another person's nose; that is, you do not have license to punch someone in the face. This is, however, only one of the marks along the limits of spatial structure. Bodily harm, trespass in a residence, public nuisance in the neighborhood - it is a basic human fact that space matters. Humans delineate dynamic spatial boundaries and borders. 'Eliminating' these is only a prerogative of pure tyranny, amounting to making a sovereign claim over everyone's space. Pretending that people only have spatial privilege over the space of the body, not over the home, the community, and so on, is the ultimate fallacy of statism. Putting a velvet glove over statism to suggest that the 'people' have ultimate democratic authority over the nation - as long as it is expressed in a degree so dilute as to be nearly impotent and the power is effectively concentrated by the bureaucrats - is currently in vogue in much of the US.

However, stripping away the state as a spatial entity, exchanging it for an even more dilute form of governance overseen by an even more distant and concentrated layer of bureaucrats - that will simply worsen the ills of governance and economy, personal liberties, and community. Those who approve of recent events will naturally view it as a greater victory.

@BenK - I would--personally, as a dual-national, working on my third passport, and who is entitled to vote in two countries (but rarely do) and who has lived more than a year in four different countries, would gladly trade lower taxes for a smaller, less intrusive government run by Boutros Boutros-Ghali somewhere in a UN bunker in Brussels. And I think of myself as a loyal American. But that's just me.

trade today's bloated US Fed government that is... not that I pay taxes on my first $90+k, since I'm offshore, but I hate tax on my investments and property taxes in the USA.

Alex - There is a missing close quotation on “the Other. This also appears in the article at The Atlantic.

Honestly the comments here don't look much better :/

Great article, much needed but too short. The best part of the piece is the moral case. Perhaps in your next piece on this topic you can be more comprehensive, include links to the studies that evidence these claims (I'm sure you know there are many), provide historical background, etc. Do you think it would help or hurt to frame immigration laws as counterproductive protectionism? Since free trade is circulating the headlines and all...

> provide historical background

Once upon a time, the nation-state emerged. The state comprised people with similar cultural orientation and ideas about moral propriety. People believed that among the functions of the state was the maintenance of civil order and protection of the people from external threats. Then in the 70s there was John Rawls ... and then came the hyperindividualists

The state comprised people who had all been beaten down by the king and were forced to accept the law until it became normal.

(and of course, it probably reflected things which were more generally in line with the people from whence he originated)


"The state comprised people who had all been beaten down by the king and were forced to accept the law until it became normal"

Wow. Now I understand Canada. Canadians are just people who have been beaten down by their king and forced to accepts laws.

Who knew? When did this happen?

Peter, we both know that Canada is one of the few exceptions to this.

However, it's not exactly as strong as an exception as the records usually suggest, since this is precisely what happened to the natives.


I don't know enough Canadian history to comment on what happened to the natives (although I would presume it wasn't nice). However, I would guess that it wasn't the King of Canada that did it. My guess is that European settlers had more to do with it. Of course, if any parallel with the U.S. is valid, the real enemy (of the natives) was European diseases. However, Canada isn't that much of an exception in affording political rights to its citizens. Many countries (Europe, the Americas) have a long tradition of self-government.

For example, consider the UK. The UK certainly had a King (and occasional Queens) for millennia. However, the King of England hasn't really ruled the UK in many centuries. The English Civil War marked the end of real monarchical power in the UK. That didn't make the UK a democracy. The universal franchise is from 1918. However, phrases like "beaten down by their king" don't have any basis in modern history (measured in centuries).

The English Civil War marked the end of real monarchical power in the UK.

No. Parliamentary supremacy was not assured until the overthrow of the James II in 1689. The Royal veto over parliamentary acts did not fall into desuetude until the advent of the House of Hanover; the last veto was cast by Queen Anne in 1702. The King continued to attend meetings of his ministers until 1717 and ceased to do so primarily because of language barriers. The function of chief executive was assumed by the First Lord of the Treasury after 1720 at the King's initiative. Sixty years later, George III still had various objects and schemes which incorporated arranging for his own delegates to run for seats in Parliament to challenge the power of the Whig politicians. Cabinet responsibility dates from around 1784. The term 'prime minister' was not an official title until 1902 and it was not until then that the office was closed to the nobility. I'm not sure when the ceremonial monarchy was truly established; some time between the start of the Regency and the accession of Victoria, I think.

Canada was settled by Europeans, the natives got a very raw deal (yes, disease was the main enemy) but now they can access the welfare state and run for office.

We got independence because we weren't a very profitable colony, and because they thought an independent nation would serve as a better check against American expansion than continued British rule. The story since then is one of successive waves of immigrants adding to the mosaic.

It is an exception to the rule, in that we never got beaten down by a king (except for the natives), and also never had to fight for independence. This type of story only applies to a handful of former British colonies, out of some 200 members of the UN.

The state comprised people who had all been beaten down by the king and were forced to accept the law until it became normal

No. States organized around dynastic fealty breathed their last around about 1918. With two or three exceptions, European polities west of Russia have emerged from the construction of lateral and vertical affinities among people geographically and linguistically proximate, aided by their being extant territorial states in some loci. Ambitious politicians and the literary sector were allied in this.

And the kings men were always really really nice to the population, especially potential dissidents. Loyalty was optional, and speaking out against the king was never punished by imprisonment, torture or death.

How do you suppose dynastic fealty was established?


"studies that evidence these claims"

We all know that there is a lot of "studies" that evidence the "moral case". Its like real science and stuff.

Gotta believe Sebas is being sarcastic there.

I was referencing the claims made on the economic impacts of migrants to wages and employment, to which there is an in-exhaustive amount of literature.

So you really want Alex to straightforwardly argue that supply and demand don't exist?

One problem at the moment is, apart from man others, that people entering, say, Germany, are at that very moment by law entitled to parts of my earnings and property. In the US, if you enter illegally, you know that all thats waiting for you are years of hard work and no benefits whatsoever (please correct me if I am wrong). Over here the governement provides shelter, food and, believe it or not, an allowance of 150 Euro per person and month - taken from me and other citizens by force, which means taxes (funny thing: it was the same thing with greece, remember). Stupid me who thought the main justification and reason for the institutions of the state are the protection of my life and property - not so anymore. There would be much more to say from a german perspective, which may differ from a position from the quite secure US, but I leave it to that.

The US has a broken political process on immigration, and the net result has been to make illegal into quasi legal. Illegals on the one hand can get some services, but on the other, can still be expelled.

Is this what jesus taught you? "being selfish is good, **** poor people". "damn those free-riders who receive 150 euros (a real fortune!) per month"

Yeah, appeals to suicidal pseudochristian morality. Very logical and rational argument...

This money is of course only in addition to housing, food and medical care. Depending on the location and age this package alone can be easily worth north of $1,000/m. And this is valid only during the time the asylum application is pending. After that, it's $400/m. + free housing + free health benefits. For life. A much better deal than full employment in most of Africa or the Middle East and it's coming out of the pockets of those Germans who work for a job and did so for decades in the hopes that they will be cared for when they would get sick or old. Now, in a mere couple of months, that promise has been broken- or how does anybody expect that the state will be able to honor it's promises to the citiziens with additional millions leeching off the welfare state without ever having contributed anything?

I agree that in principle immigrants should be denied welfare benefits at entrance. However this is a very special case, of a large war displacing a lot of people, etc. Dont forget In the end these might people the very same people who pay for your pension. Also ending the war in Syria will make many of them go back Im sure...

Would you go back?

It should be noted that many Germans immigrated to the USA after WW II.

If I had my entire family from Syria in Germany, why would I move back to a messed up, blown up country?

Harun - because if the war is over, they're no longer a refugee and have no right to stay. Unless the war rages on long enough for them to be fulfill the criteria for citizenship.


Very very doubtful they would go back if the war ended tomorrow

Also ending the war in Syria will make many of them go back Im sure…

I can't tell if the ellipses means you're telling a joke or not.

If the current assistance is so costly to tax payers why has it not been transitioned to a Basic Income Guarantee for citizens. Can't the new immigrants, younger and healthier that the general population, live with earlier immigrant friends or relatives and work?

When you grow old you will benefit immensely from the young immigrant workforce sustaining the programs you and your peers benefit from.

I agree but the critical question is: Are these Syrians qualified enough to find a job and/or willing enough to adapt to German society? I hope so, but we really dont know yet.

Most of these Syrians aren't fleeing to Germany for economic reasons, they are fleeing one of the most devastating wars in recent years. It is not just low skilled people who are running, there are doctors, lawyers, businessmen, academics, etc.

I don't know too much about German culture but I hope it is more open than the door policy at Berghain! ;)

The Syrians are a minority among the current immigrants, around 15%.

"it is not just low skilled people who are running, there are doctors, lawyers, businessmen, academics, etc."

What percentage of the refugees are these types?

Imagine the state of Arkansas fell into war, and fled to New York City.

1) Do you think the population would be described as "doctors and engineers?"

2) Do you think NYC would be okay with their politics suddenly being disrupted?


He specifically mentioned Syrians. You are right in terms of the overall population over time but recently it has been increasingly Syrians. Looking at just 2015, 54% are Syrian.


I'm not sure exact numbers exist, but this article for example:
offers evidence many of them are upper and middle class. I've personally met middle and upper class Syrians fleeing the war myself.

It also has to be the case, logistically. Prior to the war, the country was repressive but still had a relatively prosperous economy. This war, as all war, is not selective. It targets the well off and the worst off alike. Bombs don't move out of the way for rich people.

In your example, I think New Yorkers would see Arkansans as fellow Americans and be generally very receptive. Even in the case of Hurricane Katrina, which hit a more black portion of the country and thus triggered some really ugly racism, it'd be inaccurate to say the nation as a whole was not accommodating and sympathetic.

But it's hard to apply that to this circumstance, because the USA and European countries have some strong nationalist sentiments. In the USA we've always suffered from xenophobia, though we usually just get over it.

@ Harun:

10 years ago we actually did that, when Katrina displaced hundreds of thousands to other parts of the country. Mostly the poorest, least educated of our nation's citizens. Pretty brown too. Nothing bad happened, and in fact many of those who left now live better lives than before.

Very few are highly educated or highly skilled. For example, there are merely 40 Syrian doctors (physicians) in Sweden. Most of the asylum seekers instead have a highschool education or less. (Unclear whether that is comparable in quality to Western highschool.)

Most of these Syrians aren’t fleeing to Germany for economic reasons

LOL yeah, that's why they're going all the way to Germany, and not just a few dozen miles out of their own country

Sebas wrote:
"When you grow old you will benefit immensely from the young immigrant workforce sustaining the programs you and your peers benefit from."

Umm, immigrants to the West have more kids than natives, they also get old, and they earn less money. So the welfare needs make the fiscal situation worse, not better.

If the following immigration policy were implemented then what you wrote would be true
1. immigrants screened based on above average IQ/college degrees from top tier Universities in high wage professions
2. welfare and tax benefits for non-citizens scrapped
3. a long wait for naturalization in order to ensure a mistake wasn't made in giving the migrant residency in the first place (assuming naturalization is even allowed). for example 15 years physical residency, and you have to be at least 21.

Bringing in low-skill immigrants to shore up a demographic decline is like suicide: a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Thank you, FredR. I too fail to understand why demographics are the one thing that must not be permitted to be dynamic. I should probably decamp from econ blogs for a biology blog, and the reason I don't probably speaks to the rigor of the latter having less tabloid value, and my lazy mind unequal even to reading it.

Serious biologists don't even acknowledge the legitimacy of the notion of "race". There is more intragroup difference than intergroup difference. Having access to full genetic code of numerous members of different groups, you find that there is essentially no statistical difference between the groups. I.e., the first result you get is that "this is not worth studying".


That is flat out false. Could not be any more false honestly. Have you done actual research or just throwing out received wisdom?

Cliff - I'm taking the word of my biology professors at a world class research university, U of Toronto, where I also worked in a genetics lab as a student.

There is more intragroup difference than intergroup difference, hence the groups are statistically industinguishable and therefore there is no genetic basis for racial classifications. Hence, serious biologists refer to ethnicity, not race.

Is this indeed the famous Lewontin's Fallacy in the wild?


"There is more intragroup difference than intergroup difference. Having access to full genetic code of numerous members of different groups, you find that there is essentially no statistical difference between the groups."

You are quite a bit behind the times in your knowledge of the subject. You are repeating the "Lewontin Fallacy". See "Human Genetic Diversity: Lewontin's Fallacy" (Wikipedia)

"In the 2007 paper "Genetic Similarities Within and Between Human Populations", Witherspoon et al. attempt to answer the question, "How often is a pair of individuals from one population genetically more dissimilar than two individuals chosen from two different populations?". The answer depends on the number of polymorphisms used to define that dissimilarity, and the populations being compared. When they analysed three geographically distinct populations (European, African and East Asian) and measured genetic similarity over many thousands of loci, the answer to their question was "never". However, measuring similarity using smaller numbers of loci yielded substantial overlap between these populations. Rates of between-population similarity also increased when geographically intermediate and admixed populations were included in the analysis."

If you and Lewontin were correct, then it would be impossible for a computer to determine the race of an individual based on his/her DNA. In real life, computer determination of race based on DNA is stunningly accurate. See "Racial groupings match genetic profiles, Stanford study finds" (Stanford). Quote

"This work comes on the heels of several contradictory studies about the genetic basis of race. Some found that race is a social construct with no genetic basis while others suggested that clear genetic differences exist between people of different races.

What makes the current study, published in the February issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics, more conclusive is its size. The study is by far the largest, consisting of 3,636 people who all identified themselves as either white, African-American, East Asian or Hispanic. Of these, only five individuals had DNA that matched an ethnic group different than the box they checked at the beginning of the study. That's an error rate of 0.14 percent."


"There is more intragroup difference than intergroup difference, hence the groups are statistically industinguishable and therefore there is no genetic basis for racial classifications. Hence, serious biologists refer to ethnicity, not race."

If groups were "statistically indistinguishable" how can a computer determine race with a 99.86% accuracy?

Did it occur to you that perhaps your professors weren't being entirely forthcoming with the facts? To put this in perspective, Lewontin explicitly abandoned science if favor of (Marxist) politics at some point in his career. Beyond that , you should know that for PC reasons, biologists/geneticists use the word "ethnicity" and the phrase "ancestral origins" to mean what everyone else calls race.

Serious biologists don’t even acknowledge the legitimacy of the notion of “race”.

Well, yeah, they have the concept of subspecies.

There is more intragroup difference than intergroup difference, hence the groups are statistically industinguishable

I really am confused about how stupid and dishonest you are. Do you really believe that means there's no such thing as human subspecies? Do you really think that's not true about various, say, sparrow subspecies?

This is what libertardians actually believe.

I am not sure what your comment re race is referencing, Nathan W. Perhaps it was misplaced?

Ohhhh ... poor you.

It must be so tough in a system which taxes you and then provides a system which makes it possible for you to get fantastically rich. It's so mean that they ask for something in return.


The U.S. is far more like Germany than you might think. Illegals get the largest part of the welfare state the moment they show up. Health care and education are the most expensive public services in the U.S. and illegals get them (by law) from the very first day.

oH, is that so? Schools I understand, but health care too? Are you in Medicaid and Medicare as an illegal? I didnt know.
As to Nathan W, I think you did not get my point: First I am not fantastically rich, second I pay my taxes for (often bad) services, Ok, see it as an investment. But "the system" now wants me to pay for everyone showing up, it is not even for the sustainement of the system. So why stop there? Why give it only to the one who happens to cross the border and not to say the poor Burmese who is too far away? Whats the difference between poor people and poor people?

"Are you in Medicaid and Medicare as an illegal?"

By law, all hospitals must provide Emergency care and the term is pretty elastic. So, effectively all illegals have basic medical care. In addition, any children born after they enter the country are automatically citizens.


"Are you in Medicaid and Medicare as an illegal?"

Technically, no. In real life, yes. In addition, Federal law requests all hospitals to provide care without regard to legal status. What JWatts says is quite correct.

"requires" not "requests"

You're wrong about the US. Illegals are entitled to free healthcare at emergency rooms. Many welfare programs de jure bar illegals but in practice the use of forged documents and other means of circumventing this are widespread.

California passed a referendum (prop 187) about 20 years ago banning these practices; a state court voided the law and the state government refused to appeal.

What's probably causing your confusion about US illegals is a combination of the fact that speaking out against immigration isn't even sort of a prosecutable offense the US so you hear more about it, and to some degree this popular sentiment leads to the passing of laws and regulations as a sop which then go unenforced (see above).

Open borders just seems insane to me. Do you really believe humans or so easily interchangeable and culture so malleable?

Human rights make sense within countries with a history of defending them. But when you start applying the protections of human rights and extending them to people who don't have a culture that values them, why would they do anything other than take advantage of that? If your sense of morality extends to someone else, but their sense of morality does not extend to you, they will take advantage of you.

It seems like folly to think that the U.S., or western civilization, is so strong that it can withstand open migration from anywhere in the world. I feel like the riposte to that is "Are you saying you're insecure about the strength of western civilization?" To which I would reply: Yes. Yes I am insecure about it. I don't assume that what we have is some immortal, invincible thing. I think throughout history humanity has shown a strong tendency towards totalitarianism/authoritarianism, and opening our borders in pursuit of this libertarian ideal while ignoring the cultural tension that would arise in the hearts of the vast majority of people who don't give a damn about libertarian idealism (for valid reasons), seems like a good way to invite authoritarianism. The fact is I think western ideals are fragile. I think they should be carefully nurtured. And with the rise of China, the potential rise of Iran, the growing Nationalism of Russia, and the strength of the murderous Drug Cartels at our southern border, all coinciding with a weak Global Economy, growing debt, and uncertainty about the future of the dollar as a reserve on earth could anyone in good conscience, under those conditions, invite the potential massive instability of open immigration to their own country?

It's like when someone is drowning, you have to make sure you can swim before you save someone else. The world needs a strong, secure United States. We should have immigration yes, but if we're to have open immigration it should only be when we're near certain that we can either handle it in its own right, or have emergency measures which, if they suggest that the immigration is poised to go wrong, we use to turn off the spigot.

You say Nationalism discounts the moral rights of the other. I just don't understand why it's wrong to follow your instinct to value first your family and friends, then people in a slowly expanding circle of shared identity until you reach the level of Nation, and at some point beyond that the Globe. This is instinctive and intuitive. For all the reasoning and rationalization that attempts to say this is wrong, it still seems right to me. Furthermore I strongly suspect that this same other you speak of probably has the more tribal sense of morality I'm talking about, and doesn't share your sense of 'universal human rights', only arguing for them because at that point in time they stand to benefit from them.

Does famili-ism discount the moral rights of the other? If I value my sons or daughters life more than someone elses, have I then become evil in the eyes of a libertarian? What if I deny them the right to cross the border of my doorstep? Why don't you invite more people to cross the border of your doorstep? People have the right to freedom of movement don't they? What about freedom to move over to your objects, place their hands around them, close them tightly, then lift up, and walk back out your door. Technically they are just moving, and have the right to freedom of movement. Why deny them that right?

"I look forward to the day when we treat as pariahs those governments that refuse to let people enter."

Try these:

I look forward to the day when we treat as pariahs those private businesses that refuse to let people enter.

I look forward to the day when we treat as pariahs those families that refuse to let people enter their homes.

I look forward to the day when we treat as pariahs those individuals that refuse to let people enter their bodies.

Essentially you are saying that national identity, and national identity alone, is indefensible, while other identities are (arbitrarily), and also assuming that those identities will remain intact with unrestricted immigration. But there is nothing inherently different between national identity and other identities, only their scale. But if all identities are indefensible as justification for refusing to allow someone to cross a physical boundary, then the above statements would be valid under that reasoning as well. And I hope those are clearly insane.

Well said. Especially in a democracy, I think you have the right to not let in a lot of (or any) people who don't share your fundamental values. You can say the numbers will never be big enough to matter, or that they will adapt to our society, but it just seems like it's wrong as well as a bad idea. I'm a liberal (including on immigration), but that doesn't mean it is somehow morally wrong to have borders. Just like in the private property rights examples that a lot of people are raising, *no* borders would lead to every country being worse off (or at least collectively worse off). Seems like economists (at least ones who support private property rights) should get that.

Kaleb: "It seems like folly to think that the U.S., or western civilization, is so strong that it can withstand open migration from anywhere in the world" - it's not folly, when there are trillion dollar bills lying on the sidewalk from having open borders. Remember what Don Johnson, the 80s Miami Vice actor, quoting Nietzsche said: "That which does not kill you,makes you stronger". Trillion dollar bills can assuage many of the problems that you imagine.

How can you assume there are trillion dollar bills lying on the sidewalk? It seems to me that conclusion takes studies of the effects of modest, controlled immigration, and extrapolates those results to unlimited immigration.

That extrapolation doesn't make sense to me because I think it is the controlled nature of most immigration that encourages assimilation and prevents or minimizes conflict. The more people of a particular culture that are allowed to immigrate the lower the cost of refusing to assimilate. The lower the cost of refusing to assimilate, the more likely it is that any given immigrant from said culture will refuse assimilation. As more immigrants refuse to assimilate, more cultural conflicts will occur between the host citizens and the immigrants. I suspect that their are many transaction costs that are lowered by sharing a culture...these would be raised across the board when a sudden mass infusion of different cultures occurs.

I'm skeptical of the "That which does not kill you makes you stronger" aphorism. That which does not kill you can quite easily and obviously make you weaker. There are many people who take grievous wounds or suffer from a major illness, and though they survive, certainly aren't made stronger, not unless you stretch the meaning of the word strength.

It seems to me that conclusion takes studies of the effects of modest, controlled immigration, and extrapolates those results to unlimited immigration.

George Borjas has quite deftly taken apart the argument of late. Bryan Caplan has elected to pretend this did not happen.

By your logic Kaleb, then the United States of Europe, which restricts people into nation-states like France, Germany, Greece, Italy, etc, would be more dynamic than the USA. It is not, ergo your point fails.

As for Don's observation, Google "annealing metal". You beat the metal to rid it of impurities. Or, to use the bodybuilder's maxim: "No Pain, No Gain".

Remember what Don Johnson, the 80s Miami Vice actor, quoting Nietzsche said: “That which does not kill you,makes you stronger”.

The problem is if it kills you.

The kind of nation-state you describe doesn't exist. The world that you describe, made up of independent countries isolated and walled from each other, doesn't exist. The foreign bogeymen you describe--Iran, Mexican cartels, Russian ultra-nationalism--are all part of, and consequences of, an integrated international system.

The Mexican cartels wouldn't have nearly as much power as they do if Mexico was autonomous from international finance capital in the '80s, and the Mexican people didn't have NAFTA rammed down their throats in the '90s--these are the factors behind the mass migration from Mexico to the US in the '80s and '90s, and the ability of the cartels to draw on large numbers of frustrated and hopeless unemployed young men to act as its footsoldiers. You can see similar dynamics at play in the Central American countries, whose criminal oligarchies have their roots in the US-backed dictatorships of the '70s and '80s.

From the perspective of global military and finance institutions, borders don't exist--and this has devastating consequences for the well-being of the average person. It would be proper and rational to extend the non-existence of borders to the average person.

The Mexican cartels wouldn’t have nearly as much power as they do if Mexico was autonomous from international finance capital in the ’80s, and the Mexican people didn’t have NAFTA rammed down their throats in the ’90s–

Your crime problem is an artifact of your institutional deficits. It has not a damn thing to do with tariff levels or Citibank.

You think a guy going by "Arjun" is Mexican?

Repeat after me: NAFTA was good for Mexico (but not a panacea).


"Repeat after me: NAFTA was good for Mexico (but not a panacea)"

Very debatable. Pre-NAFTA Mexico had a much better record of economic growth. At one time, people actually wrote about the "Mexican Tiger" and they weren't referring to an extinct Pleistocene megafauna.

Pre-1980 Mexico had a much better record of economic growth. Mexico 1980-1994 had a much worse record of economic decline. Today, Mexico's economic complexity of goods exports is similar to that of China. It was much lower in 1993.


From 1960 to 1980, Mexico's per-capita GDP rose from $3,299 to $6,675 (slightly more than doubled). From 1980 to 1994 Mexico's per-capita GDP rose from $6,675 to $7,068. From 1994 to 2014, Mexico's per-capita GDP rose from $7,068 to $8,628.

Clearly, the period up to 1980 was drastically superior to the record since 1980. From 1980 to 1994 Mexico's economy stagnated, it did not decline (as measured by per-capita GDP or total GDP). Since 1994, Mexico has enjoyed modest growth. Note that in the 20 years from 1960 to 1980, per-capita GDP (in Mexico) more than doubled. In the 20 years since 1994, Mexico's per-capita GDP has risen by 22%

The overall record of Mexico under NAFTA is not impressive.

Mexico wouldn't have cartels if there were not an insanely expensive, and yet utterly ineffective, war on drugs in the USA.

if there were not an insanely expensive,

Enforcement of drug laws accounts for less than 2% of public expenditure in this country.

and yet utterly ineffective, war on drugs in the USA.

Counter-factual reasoning is not your strong suit.

2% of public expenditures in the largest economy on the planet is absolutely "insanely expensive".

Countries which have given up on the war on drugs do not see a rise in drug usages rates.

Hence, insanely expensive and utterly ineffective.

But Reefer Madness continues to pay dividends 60 years after its production, and no amount of reasoning or evidence will convince you to stand down from your position.

2% of public expenditures in the largest economy on the planet is absolutely “insanely expensive”.

There are 320 million people to police here, Nathan. Math is hard for you.

Art - If your income is $50,000 a year, 2% of that is $1000 a year.

Is that not insanely expensive for something that's completely useless?

The notion that it's 'completely useless' is derived from your inability to tease out the consequences of unlimited traffick in stupefacients. That is not my problem or the problem of the police force.

god, conservative Catholics are as bad as SJWs

You raise many good arguments, but I think your more extreme examples enter into the realm of ridiculous, and to more to discredit the general quality of your argumentation. Sometimes it can be useful to carry a line of thinking to its furthest possible logical conclusion as a thought experiment. However, this does not imply that a step in the direction is wrong, it just tells us that we can't go too far. It's like arguing against 30% taxation as ridiculous because taken to the logical extreme everything falls apart at 100% taxation.

I like the ideals of open borders, and think we should openly discuss the matter in ways conducive to exploring the possibility that it might ever become practical. It provides a vision of a world that I would absolutely love to live in, could we make it practical. Free to go anywhere, live anywhere, work anywhere, without a hundred miles of red tape in every direction? It would be real freedom, but in the meantime there are some very serious downsides. Perhaps someone will think up some as yet unknown but very simple solution to the downsides?

In practice, it looks like everything falls apart at 50-60% taxation.

The Open Borders movement reminds me of Alexander's One World movement: Alexander wanted to export Greek culture and language throughout the world, and he largely succeed (the Hellenistic Period ended primarily because Rome didn't impose its culture and language). Open Borders subsumes a single culture and language; otherwise, it would be chaos. The question becomes: whose culture and language? Lots of cultures would be threatened and not react well: the middle east on a global scale. I fear that Open Borders is something that works well in theory but not in practice.

Hey I'm the expert on Greek stuff point of fact, Alexander's One World movement did not survive his death. His three main generals divided his empire among themselves (and killed his mixed-race child he had with Roxanne, which I thought was the biggest crime since I am an advocate of mixed race offspring) when Alex the G died. And Alex's conquest (Alex the G, not Alex the T) of Persia was in fact Alex's One World overcoming another One World, as the Persians in fact had a multi-national empire that AlexG destroyed. In short, the AlexG One World movement that you describe was just the fevered ploy of a Macedonian trying to rally his troops, as a moral booster. They had superior military technology and tactics, so, like the Mongols and Genghis Khan, they conquered the world, but they hardly had a coherent ideology behind them.

Greek was the lingua franca for hundreds of years, and Greek culture (from architecture to philosophy) greatly influenced culture everywhere; not to mention that the Ptolemy dynasty and the Seleucid dynasty (and with them Greek culture and language) lasted hundreds of years. But you missed my point: that Alexander wasn't so much concerned about conquering the world as making the world in his (Greek) image. Open borders would work if but only if there's one culture and one language linking country to country; otherwise, it would be chaos and not really "open" borders. I will repeat a point I've made before: the explosion in world trade coincided with the spread of Christianity, not so much because Christians are better at business but because of the common religion shared by people in different places instilled a level of trust that encouraged them to engage in trade.

"Open borders would work if but only if there’s one culture and one language linking country to country " - pace ancient Persia, which was multi-cultural, my point.

I just listened to a podcast about this, and there are many that argue that Hellenization was already occuring and Alexander was not its main cause.

Which makes sense. How long did his empire live? 10 years?

Ray brings up the about the Manchus?

They ended up speaking Chinese not the other way around.

Alexander wanted to export Greek culture and language throughout the world, and he largely succeed -

Yeah? Lots of Greek culture in Africa, most of Asia, the Americas, and Australia?

Seeing as how this comment section is going to explode to 200+, I'm excited to get in while there are only 19 comments.

I just want to say that while I disagree with the open borders crowd, I do think the open borders people are making explicit something that is usually swept under the rug: that the whole nation-state concept is a form of institutional racism, but one that has slipped under the radar of political correctness for whatever reason.

For example, it's generally understood that the reason France and England are not part of one country is that French and English people are part of two different ethnic groups, and often people of different ethnic groups don't get along super well, and if you smooshed them together into one country you would just take two well-functioning high-trust countries and turn them into one dysfunctional low-trust country, so it's better to keep them apart. And this makes sense to me.

And yet...that's ultimately kind of racist, isn't it? Not that I am up in arms about that because it works, but it seems like there has to be some cognitive dissonance there. "I treat all peoples equally" seems incompatible with "I only trust people in my narrow ethnic group to govern me."

Before anybody jumps down my throat, I'm not actually suggesting we abolish the nation-state or any such thing. Pointing out the inconsistencies of political correctness is a hobby horse of mine, is all. But I think it's interesting and nobody ever talks about it, and furthermore nobody who I've discussed this with seem to think it's a particularly astute insight, maybe for good reason.

I think it is less of a progression. Periodically nations free the slaves and declare freedom of religion, and then after a time go back again. We can hope that slaves are out and freedom is in, but perhaps someone in 500 BC Persia hoped that too.

(On shorter time horizons it is fine for immigration policies to select for national priorities.)

Do Frenchmen and Englishmen not get along well?

Historically, no. It hasn't come to violence in a fairly long time, but both nations--the French in particular--pride themselves on their distinctiveness from the other.

The thing that open borders advocates like Tabarrok either ignore or simply don't see is that CULTURE MATTERS. Different groups--ethnic, religious--have different concepts of right and wrong, different ideas about how society should be organized, and very different ideas about transgressions should be addressed. In the modern world, I'll grant you the distinctions between English and French aren't terribly instructive. A better sample comparison would be, say, Western European vs. Sunni Arab. In Sunni Arab cultures, women are at best second-class citizens, mass inbreeding is not only accepted but the norm in some cases, violent acts such as "honor killings" are tolerated, and brutal physical punishments (e.g. crucifixion, dismemberment) are normal if not outright coded in law. That's not even getting into what they think of other cultures. To put it politely, they have a much less developed concept of human rights than we Westerners do. Consequently, their culture is fundamentally incompatible with ours. Dissolving all the borders, letting them migrate to the West en masse, and giving them jobs doesn't magically change that overnight or even within a generation. They bring their culture with them. And, the more of them that come, the more easily they hold to it without assimilating.

Sometimes, "the Other" really is "the Other." We have different countries for a reason.

Mass immigration only works when coupled with rigorous assimilation. They have to become us. That requires relentless, uncompromising enforcement. That, in turn, requires authority and boundaries i.e. government. All of which is anathema to the libertarian.

The problem with open borders advocates, and a problem with both globalist libertarians and progressives, is that they've internalized the post-Cold War "end of history" myth and the absurd, moral relativist notion that all people everywhere are the same. That humans--and, by extension, that their belief systems--are inherently fungible and thus irrelevant to considerations of policy.

To that, I say: read some damn history. When traveling abroad, spend some time outside the airport-hotel-convention center-office tower enclaves, and experience how the bulk of the population actually lives. How they actually treat each other.

Thanks for the response. I find this aspect of the debate important.

I agree with much of your sentiment. Culture absolutely matters, and there are a lot of frictions between western values and traditional Islamic values. I have experienced them in my own life. For example, there is a Muslim doctor here who's schedule needs to accommodate prayer 5 times a day. It can take many stressful hours that require grave attention to stabilize a patient, and these interruptions can be disrupting. I also have a Muslim friend that introduced me to his family, though I was not allowed to shake the hands of the females or generally associate with them. This has all taken place in mid-west america. I want to stress that I understand your concerns here.

That said, I cannot agree with the implication that most Muslims behave like this, that their beliefs and aspirations are determined by a few despotic governments that brainwash them, that they will not be assimilated as every other ethnic group in our history, or that this problem is isolated to Islam. Here in the US we have supposed Christians who will opt to pray for their sick children instead of taking them to a doctor. There are enclaves here where Christians brainwash women in subservient roles, and it's not uncommon for women to be pressured to stay home and not chase careers, as is "their place" in the eyes of many. The FBI has repeatedly said the biggest terrorist threat by far in this country is the christian right. I've seen Jehovah's witnesses tell doctors they refuse to allow their infant children to undergo blood transfusions that will save their life for religious reasons.

Thankfully, we live in a nation built on rights regardless of what the citizens think. The rights of an infant override the rights of their guardians to condemn them to death, even if for religious reasons, and doctors have legal grounds and are obligated to take protective custody of those infants and nurse them to health. Likewise, that Muslim doctor faces serious exposure to a heavy malpractice suit if his prayers result in injury to a patient. Our legal structure from the constitution onwards is built to deal with these frictions.

Assimilation is a tricky term. I don't know if it's right to say they must "become" us. Irish catholics did not "become" protestants, Latinos have not "become" white nationalists, nor did the african slaves and their descendants "become" white america. We all give and take from each other and deal with our problems as they come. Our culture not only allows that, but encourages that. I think some introspection needs to take place for Americans into what their cultural and historical ideals actually are and have been. The idea that our culture just doesn't allow participation from "The Other" is totally revisionist.

In the first waves of Muslim immigrants, there are sure going to be frictions. Maybe some of those people will go to the grave with backwards ideals. But their kids will not be the same. I've met many of them myself, and am a first generation american myself. When someone grows up in this country exposed to all our freedoms and cultural knick knacks like sports, films, music, liberal sex, technologic innovation, thick skinned attitude, career opportunities, etc. it's hard to imagine that person growing up and thinking "Maybe men and women shouldn't be allowed to shake hands".

I lean towards open borders and globalist perspectives, but I am far from a moral relativist. Quite the contrary, I'm an advocate for the western liberal ideals of the enlightenment, which is precisely why we should allow people from all backgrounds, especially repressed backgrounds, to participate.

Sorry for the length.

@Sebas: "That said, I cannot agree with the implication that most Muslims behave like this, that their beliefs and aspirations are determined by a few despotic governments that brainwash them, that they will not be assimilated as every other ethnic group in our history, or that this problem is isolated to Islam. [...] There are enclaves here where Christians brainwash women in subservient roles..."

I was speaking about Sunni Arab culture, specifically. Not all of the practices I described can be generalized to Islam writ large. That said, those practices are not limited to a few eccentric enclaves a la marginal Christian groups in the U.S. Rather, they are part of the culture writ large, subscribed to by a large portion or even an outright majority of the population, and have been in effect for centuries.

For example, when it comes to inbreeding, substantial percentages of Sunni Arab populations practice father's brother's daughter (FBD) marriages. For a sense of the scale of the phenomenon, go here:

"Our legal structure from the constitution onwards is built to deal with these frictions."

At the margins, sure. I'm less confident that it could handle sudden mass immigration on the scale of what Europe is experiencing right now.

I'll grant that America is better suited to this than European countries are. Our track record of assimilation is much better than, say, Germany's. However, I don' think that our agility in this area is unlimited nor am I eager to put it to a test and find out.

"Assimilation is a tricky term. I don’t know if it’s right to say they must “become” us."

Not so much tricky as mildly taboo and retrograde according to contemporary Western establishment norms. To clarify what I mean: when push comes to shove, the norms of the host country must win out over those of the immigrating group. They can maintain their cultural practices and social norms in so far as they don't directly contradict or oppose those of the host country. More importantly, the immigrating group has no business trying to impose their norms on the native population of the host country. Bottom line: if the immigrants can't learn to live by the host country's rules, they can't stay.

"Irish catholics did not “become” protestants..."

We're not conversing in Irish Gaelic right now. Clan feuds of the sort practiced in Ireland centuries ago are not morally or legally acceptable in American society. Whitey Bulger and his criminal ilk excluded, Catholic Irish-Americans adhere to American norms of rights and rule of law that have their roots in English Protestant traditions going back to the Magna Carta.

To be fair, though, Irish immigrants to America were already partially assimilated to Anglo norms before they got here.

"...Latinos have not “become” white nationalists..."

Here, I think you're conflating cultural norms and race ideology. While there are historical connections, they aren't necessarily the same.

But, to address your point, Latino immigrants to the U.S. come from cultures that have been at least partially assimilated to European cultural norms that overlap substantially with those of the Anglo-American tradition. Normative difference can be plotted on a spectrum of similarity from a given point of comparison. On that spectrum, Latinos are much closer to the U.S. than, say, Sunni Arabs or the totalitarian regime of Myanmar.

"...nor did the african slaves and their descendants “become” white america."

Compared to Africans, sure they did. They speak English. They predominantly practice Protestant Christianity as opposed to the tribal animist beliefs of their African ancestors. Their political activities as a group--from abolitionism to MLK's civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter today--are firmly rooted in originally Western European ideas of basic rights and freedoms, not the indigenous political traditions of sub-Saharan Africa.

"The idea that our culture just doesn’t allow participation from “The Other” is totally revisionist."

Sure, it does. As long as "the Other" embraces, or at least agrees to live under, the core elements of the American normative package.

"Maybe some of those people will go to the grave with backwards ideals. But their kids will not be the same."

To an extent, it comes down to volume. If the number of immigrants remains relatively marginal, you're probably right. If we're talking numbers in the hundreds of thousands or millions--basically, enough to form their own enclaves and assert political control in a defined area, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Once again, though, I think is going to be a much, much bigger problem in Europe than here in the U.S. The cases of Turks in Germany and Algerians in France does not bode well.

"...I’m an advocate for the western liberal ideals of the enlightenment, which is precisely why we should allow people from all backgrounds, especially repressed backgrounds, to participate."

Your heart may be in the right place. Make sure your head is, too. Your optimistic idealism--and that of those who share your views--needs to be tempered by practical realism, humility, knowledge of history, and greater awareness of the facts on the ground.

But the particularly bizarre point unique to open borders libertarians is that they support something that will be, from their perspective, absolutely disastrous. They're supporting importing anti-libertarianism.

@at the racist and reactionary Lobster: pace Belgium. What is Belgium if not half Dutch and half French?

But, one time it took them 18 months to form government after an election therefore they're a failure (but meanwhile all public services and bureaucracy operated perfectly smoothly).

And sometimes it takes a long time to pass laws, and what could possibly be more important than passing bad laws quickly?

Actually, I think the fact that the Dutch and French (-speaking) can barely make a go of it (there is substantial Flemish nationalism) is a pretty good argument that making countries like Iraq work is near impossible.

That does not cut the way you wanted it to.


Self-determination for ethnicities is a long-standing human goal. It is not for naught that Kurds are frequently described as "the largest group in the world without their own nation". Go read Wilson's 14 points. They (5-14) are mostly focused on ethnic self-determination. Of course, the Open Borders crowd calls it "racism". However, it is also the basis for stable government.

That assumes there is a sense of affinity which travels vertically in a society, and an intelligentsia interested in developing a national culture. See Sowell. The intelligentsia now consists of one-uppers. A sense of common affinity in western nations is lateral and does not include the professional-managerial sort, who fancy they're above all that.


"A sense of common affinity in western nations is lateral and does not include the professional-managerial sort, who fancy they’re above all that."

Mark Krikorian (CIS) says "American is a nation of patriotic citizens with a post-patriotic elite".

Indeed, it's become de rigeur in certain circles to scoff at the idea of patriotism.

@PS - but "Self-determination for ethnicities is a long-standing human goal" - is patently false. Unless if by "long-standing" you mean since the 19th century, when nationalism took off, a response to the "Romantic" movement in literature. Nationalism is a curse, and the reason behind two world wars. You want a third war? You want a race war? It would be better if you, if you're a parent, taught your kids to date and make friend with people of other races rather than perpetuating the poison you espouse (being a troll here, but my point is good). Analogy: it was said that cannibalism in Papua New Guinea was a 'long standing cultural norm' until an anthropologist--later convicted for being a pedophile in the USA, I could Google his name, starts with a G--found it to be simply a habit of around 100 years (like your nationalism). It was causing a brain wasting disease. When the stopped the cannibalism, the disease was halted. Likewise, a world full of browns rather than black, white, yellow would be free of conflict and an Eden. Nuff said.


"Likewise, a world full of browns rather than black, white, yellow would be free of conflict and an Eden."

Iraq and Syria are free of conflict and really paradise... Please do tell the locals.

Actually, pre-immigration Sweden was remarkably free of conflict. So was Switzerland, Norway, etc.

However, you don't have to take my word for it. There have been many studies how "diversity" impacts a society. The results aren't good. See

"The downside of diversity - A Harvard political scientist finds that diversity hurts civic life. What happens when a liberal scholar unearths an inconvenient truth?"

"IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.

But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam -- famous for "Bowling Alone," his 2000 book on declining civic engagement -- has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings"

browns rather than black, white, yellow ... as compared to Iraq and Syria - Peter, he's not talking literally about brown people, he's talking about a purely mixed society. The problems in Iraq and Syria are that different groups think they can achieve/maintain domination over others, and that other groups are fighting against this.

"The downside of diversity ..." - It only deals with America. It sounds plausible. But I could offer plausible explanations for many of the findings. For example, on volunteership, that a minority group might have a lot of "volunteer" and mutual aid activities, but that they do so spontaneously rather than as a part of a formal organization. Many members of minorities that I know would drop things at a drop of a hat to help different people (e.g., drive someone to a hospital, take them meals when they are sick, etc.). And perhaps they don't vote as much because they do not find that the candidates represent their values. None of these results NECESSARILY implies a breakdown of society and community, but quite plausibly reflects methods that are not well suited to capturing civic engagements of newcomers.


From the same source

"Putnam knew he had provocative findings on his hands. He worried about coming under some of the same liberal attacks that greeted Daniel Patrick Moynihan's landmark 1965 report on the social costs associated with the breakdown of the black family. There is always the risk of being pilloried as the bearer of "an inconvenient truth," says Putnam.

After releasing the initial results in 2001, Putnam says he spent time "kicking the tires really hard" to be sure the study had it right. Putnam realized, for instance, that more diverse communities tended to be larger, have greater income ranges, higher crime rates, and more mobility among their residents -- all factors that could depress social capital independent of any impact ethnic diversity might have.

"People would say, 'I bet you forgot about X,'" Putnam says of the string of suggestions from colleagues. "There were 20 or 30 X's."

But even after statistically taking them all into account, the connection remained strong: Higher diversity meant lower social capital. In his findings, Putnam writes that those in more diverse communities tend to "distrust their neighbors, regardless of the color of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television.""

"how good the comment section at MR can be"

Baffled at somebody who can have read the comments at this blog and come away blithely unconcerned about possible negative effects of OPEN BORDER NOW!

Guess he's a big fan of 3rd world communicable diseases.

And terrorism.

And sex trafficking.

And wage depression for people at the bottom of the US employment scale.

And the disadvantage of disassembling a productive society by injecting 3rd world corruption.

But most of that probably won't hurt him, encased in his university, far from where most of the harm is done.

So since he's better off, to hell with the people who get hurt.

@RJ - you've got it backwards. I've seen much worse in the ghettos of the USA than I have in the ghettos of the Third World (Manila to be exact; a bit of Bangkok too). All the ills you imagine coming from overseas are already in your backyard.

Our ghettos aren't facing any problems that the importation of more dysfunction won't fix!

+1 ! - the Filipinos love black culture. They are more black than the American blacks! I seriously doubt they understand any of the lyrics though. It's hard enough for me, born in the USA, to understand jive, and for them it's next to impossible, even with the Youtube video on Closed Captioning so the lyrics can be read. It's pretty funny though, as they don't censor any of the songs and you'll hear all kinds of swear words booming in the middle of the street with kids and little old ladies dancing to it. Wiggle by Jason Derulo is quite popular for example.


If Filipinos really love black culture ("gangsta" culture presumably), then you have offered a new compelling argument immigration. Lots of folks, around the world, have observed that immigrant assimilation into American "gangsta" culture is the worst aspect of immigration. You can see this happening in Portugal, France, and Sweden, etc. Sadly, retention of traditional Islamic culture would be a much better outcome.

"new compelling argument immigration" should be "new compelling argument against immigration"

3rd world diseases are largely a matter of the environment, rather than being communicable. AIDS being an exception - so screen for various illnesses upon entry.

Why be a terrorist when you can just go somewhere where there are people like you, instead of fighting for what you want where you currently live?

Please explain how open borders would promote sex trafficking. I can't even fathom a possible way it would contribute to this. Moreover, it might lesson the problem, because any victims would always have perfect freedom to get on a train, and cross the border far far away where the victimizers would never find them.

Granted, there would be wage depression for people at the bottom of the scale. In the USA. But globally, opportunities would be massively expanded, and welfare would massively increase due to greater ability to match supply and demand. Moreover, with minimum wage laws, things cannot get too bad for low wage earners.

3rd world corruption is generally at the top. Also, laws would stay the same in the US, so why assume that incomers would be any more corrupt? Many African countries presently suffer from corruption, but I have never heard anything about incomers bringing these problems with them.

Please explain how open borders would promote sex trafficking. I can’t even fathom a possible way it would contribute to this.

... you cannot fathom how having open borders would make it easier for people to be taken across borders to be used as prostitutes?

I do not believe you. Why did you write such a thing?

Question for Open Borders advocates:

The introduction of large numbers of people who do not have an appreciation for Western values and, especially, the American ideal of liberty, will influence our nation's politics away from the American ideal. So I ask, at which loss of liberty would you admit that "Open Borders" is not worth the cost?

(1) The loss of freedom of speech
(2) The loss of freedom of religion
(3) The loss of the entire First Amendment
(4) The loss of the right to bear arms
(5) The loss of the 4th amendment and all civil protections (understanding that opening the door and letting in devout enemies of the United States will inspire the government to pursue many extra-Constitutional prosecutions)

Or are you prepared to overturn the Constitution (whatever is left of it) so you can claim your utopian prize?

I thought freedom of movement and accepting immigrants with open arms was also an American ideal...

For the most part of US history, certain groups of people were either banned from entry or severely discouraged from doing so, including via discrimination. So, no, they are not.

Ideals and practice are two different things. Policies often contradict ideals (slavery, WWII internment camps, state-enforced segregation, etc.). That doesn't make the ideals any less real.


Restrictions on movement were a key goal in the drafting of the Constitution. The slave states wanted free importation of slaves. The North wanted an immediate end to the slave trade. They compromised on a 20 year delay to any ban. In 1808, the importation of slaves was banned with extreme penalties (including execution) for violations.

This post is pure bs. This changes would require an ammount of immigration flow in the order of 10s of millions per year (perhaps more). I doubt such a thing would occur, especially if you require potential immigrants to pay something at entrance (Mandatory health insurance, some special one-time tax)...Also immigration flows come from very different countries and cultures. Mexico and Afganistan descendents would never form an uniform voting block.

The population of Utah in the 1870s was roughly 100,000. Yet that was sufficient number of people to bring the question of polygamy before the Supreme Court. So take off your rose colored glasses and ask yourself: How many people of a certain sympathetic viewpoint would it take to pressure the politicians on the Supreme Court to whittle away Constitutional rights? The number is far lower than millions. You know it, you just can't be honest about it.

Ok that is a good counter-example. But if something like that would occur (lets say moslims would want Sharia law applied to them, instead of US law), the backlash would be so huge, its hard to imagine any level of sucess.

Not to mention our constitution strictly prohibits, with the very first law

Indeed, it's hard to get anyone to commit to some explicit consequence that they fear might happen. Usually, it's the completely metric-less "culture will erode" kind of claim.

Native Americans, deemed to be the "losers" of 18th and 19th century open borders movement, were rounded up, stripped of their property and freedom and put under the thumb of Federal authority. Is that not an explicit consequence? But it will be different this time, right?

Muslims are already asking for shariah law and being granted exemptions to Constitutional rules against religion in public places. So nope, already happening and it will accelerate rapidly thanks to increased immigration.

If the poorer Native Americans had ended up colonizing the wealthier Europe, then you may have a case.

Example, please.

And wait, what rules against religion in public places? Do you mean "In the schools and courthouses, where everyone has to pledge/swear 'under God'"?


No one has to say the words "under god"

Dan - 18th and 19th century were in no way, shape or form an "open borders movements". It was colonization and conquest. Nothing more, nothing less.

Is polygamy unconstitutional?

And what did the court say? No.

Mexico and Afganistan descendents would never form an uniform voting block

They seem to right now.

Texas vs. California is an interesting Texas political culture rubbing off on immigrants there vs. vice versa?

@Dan W. - for one TRILLION dollars, in present value? When the US GDP is 16T a year, that is, for 1/16th of a year = 365/16 = 22.8 = 23 days of extra GDP? Of course I'll trade all the so-called 'freedoms' you speak of! First Amendment is already dead, as per case law, since employers can limit your free speech. Freedom of religion? You go to church? And if you do, don't you think state persecution will make you into a martyr, like the early Christians? Entire First Amendment? We are being redundant, as you mentioned speech and religion. There's nothing else in the 1st. Right to bear arms? Overrated, and I own handguns. Fourth Amendment? That's the right of a criminal to get off on a 'technicality'. Seriously, the USA should do as in the UK and just make it easier for law-abiding citizens to sue police if they get arrested falsely. Money is the great equalizer.

In short, for 23 days extra GDP I'll gladly trade your chimera of 'freedoms'. That's a bargain.

So don't let them vote for 20 years or something. Open borders ideal of free movement satisfied. It never promised a vote.

Hah, as if Westerners actually have much appreciation for Western values. I'm reminded of Gandhi's response to being inquired on what he thought of Western civilization--he replied "I think it might be a good idea".

Arjun thinks a stupid and antique aphorism describes social reality.

Mahatma Gandhi versus some old guy who never accomplished anything collecting welfare in upstate NY. Yeah that's a real tough one.

There are at least twenty good reasons for reciprocal immigration being the default standard ( one comes here, one goes there). Moral hazard and genetic tendency to reciprocity are two. Within borders could become a problem. California drought will probably mean revert, but if not can they all more to Vermont? Presumption of a positive right means force, a gun up the nose of the host receiving the visitor, even if disguised.

My position is as follows: In an ideal world, denying entry to a person in a country due to their place of birth is immoral. So in principle the person should be let in (with no long asylum process, but of course check criminal background, etc). On the other hand, I believe this person does not have right to any sort of welfare benefit (until the immigrant is qualified to get the nationality for instance) and should sign up for some sort of mandatory health insurance (Notice that this obliges the potential immigrant to incur in some significant expenses at entrance!). It is possible that due to the economic situation of the country of immigration the person is not able to find a job, or its skills are not good enough to find a job, or the culture from the country of origin is too different than the country of immigration, or the person does not speak the language, thus making finding a job a very hard task. (Do not underestimate the language barrier, but I admit this might put additional pressure in countries like the UK). In such a case, the lack of any source of income would naturally oblige the unsucessful immigrant to move to another country or live in the streets. Another problem that seems to be occuring now is the "space-time constraint". If a large immigration flow occurs in a small amount of time and then I agree that a country can and should stop the flows of immigration, since this can in deed pose a security threat. I believe that if you oblige immigrants to take some significant expenses at entrance (ex: Pay X euros for work visa or health insurance), the problem of free-riding will be significantly reduced (?).

I also think immigration flows should be reciprocal. If an Afganistani person is allowed to have a US work visa, the reciprocal should also be allowed.

also the title : "The Case for Getting Rid of Borders—Completely" is a little bit unfortunate, there will always have to be some sort of restriction? or not?

@MK - you are well intentioned, but you should copy a page out of the ancient Athenian Greeks playbook, and introduced temporary expulsion and exile (by popular vote) of citizens who don't add up. It's actually in the US Constitution already (for treason). Can you imagine the immense benefits that would accrue, morally if not financially, for temporary expulsion of pests like certain rappers and Kim Kardashian from the USA?

Open borders ideology of the libertarian variety is clearly idiotic and unsustainable in the long run.

Even if we assume that the nation state is completely abolished and borders are widely opened, if we preserve freedom of speech and freedom of association, people will quickly form exclusionary communities based on different discrete criteria. They may be ethnicity, race, culture, religion, ideology, what-have-you.

There is no way to have freedom of association (which means a freedom to exclude from association as well) and open borders.

Open borders can be sustained only by a totalitarian supranatural institution that cracks down on freedom of association (and several other associated freedoms like freedom of speech that are dangerous to the cause).

An outcome I have no reason to believe is not the wet dream of the proprietors of this blog who have several times shown that they are libertarian in name only.

@John - surely you don't think a Homeowner's Association is equal to the US Border Patrol do you? Worse case, sell your house and move (Tiebout hypothesis).

"surely you don’t think a Homeowner’s Association is equal to the US Border Patrol do you?"
What does that have to do with anything?
Or you actually thing that the way those exclusionary communities will be structured is along the lines of a homeowners associations?
Because if you do, you are clearly delusional. There will be a lot of weapons, blood and violence involved. Just like in the formation of nation states.

Or not. History rhymes, it rarely repeats. When's the last time you saw a Catholic and a Protestant fighting over religion? In Greece, they have Bektashi Muslims who worship the Virgin Mary and Jesus with icons. Point being, once immigrants come to the USA they lose their Old World mentality and join the melting pot.

It wasn't that long ago Catholics and Protestants were killing each other in Belfast.

Yes, but they were killing each other over question of status and political allegiance. There's been a certain amount of Pope-bashing too ("he doesn't have a very good name in Portadown"). Theological disputes haven't entered into it much. The Irish Republic was as intensely Catholic as any place in the occidental world in 1980. Support for Sinn Fein was in the low single digits.

"Point being, once immigrants come to the USA they lose their Old World mentality and join the melting pot."

Or not. Are somalies and mexicans "melting" currently?

"When’s the last time you saw a Catholic and a Protestant fighting over religion?"

If there was no pacifying state influence enforced through laws and state-sponsored violence, how much money will you bet on there being no more religious wars in Europe?

John - people don't melt very fast.


Four generations is a pretty long time

Cherry picking moral frameworks as "standard" while excluding those that actually describe the vast majority of human history is stacking the deck just a bit.

I wonder if Open Borders is even a good argument for immigration at this point, or whether in practice it works towards closed borders. It might be so manifestly crazy that it casts doubt on more than itself.

Optimal immigration, some kind of data driven search (probably paired with optimal tariff), certainly seems far from the discussion.

This is my thought as well. Personally I find open borders arguments to be self defeating. I am sympathetic to the idea of a right of free movement and the humanitarian benefit of free movement, but I am not willing to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Open borders advocates present such a stark and extreme change from where we are today that they provide a usefull target to point to by those who oppose even gradual increases in immigration.

I think the open borders advocates would be better served by changing thier prescription to "we should have more immigration" instead of open borders. That is a policy that is acheivable and would be a net positive. After we do that see how things are going and then maybe push for even more immigration.

I see the same problems with libertarians arguing for anarchism, I am sympathetic but that world is so different than the one that we live in pusing it as a viable policy turns away folks that might be on our side with more gradual liberty improving policies.

The progressive must ever signal his superior morality with increasingly absurd moral arguments. A person is either on the progressive train to total societal collapse or off it, there's no half measures. Either accept the moral framework or reject it. If one believes in equality, he cannot be for borders. This might seem disturbing, in the same way people feel disturbed about pedophilia today, the same way people would have been disturbed by gay marriage in 1980. It will all seem normal in 20 years and people will curse those reactionaries who believe in borders and criminalizing sex with children.

Yes, the world is black and white and there is no such thing as grey.

Moreover, gay marriage will lead to acceptance of pedophilia (Republican folklore).

I think the open borders proponents have likely never lived in a country with bad neighbors, or in a neighbourhoid with a very large immigrant population that refuses to assimilate.

Open borders for countries like Israel and Singapore would be death.

For neighborhoods like Tower Hamlets in London it has meant awful crime, multi generational welfare dependence, thoroughly corrupt local elections and sharia vigilantes. For the UK, open borders with Pakistan or Bangladesh would be the end.

Ask the Jews in Malmö about open borders.

Open borders only work among countries with similar wealth and cultural values, and of course when you have such simarities there isn't much compunction to move anyway.

"Ask the Jews in Malmö about open borders" - what sort of incendiary talk is this? Malmo having lots of Ah-rabs? Ask the Palestinians in West Palm Beach Florida then? They probably get along great with their Jewish neighbors, since likely they're equally wealthy. In fact, people identify largely by income, not by race. By way of example, I, as a member of the 1% in the USA by net worth, identify more with rich folk regardless of their ethnicity than I do with people who just look like me.


The Jews in Malmo have a lot to say on the subject of mass immigration. So do (some) American Jews. Quote from "High Noon to Midnight: Why Current Immigration Policy Dooms American Jewry"

"Surrounded by Concrete Barriers. American Jews already live in a state of heightened threat. A visit to New York, home to America’s largest Jewish population, provides striking evidence that Jews no longer live in safety. Virtually every high-profile Jewish institution in New York is surrounded by concrete barriers to prevent car bombs exploding too close to the building, while being checked by security guards and passing through metal detectors are now a routine a part of attending religious services. Such vigilance is not confined to New York. Throughout the country, in communities with a substantial Muslim presence, security is a critical part of planning any sort of Jewish political or communal event — especially those intended to demonstrate support for Israel. An address by a representative of Israel or a speaker known as a critic of Islamism ensures an armed police presence."

"Open Borders seems to be having a moment."

Borders are having a moment - open for the elites, closed for the masses.

That's not an argument for one or the other. It's just the framework.

Heh. How far can you polarize immigration policy? Open and closed. That's about it. Black and white. No shades of gray needed.

I want to rewrite that comment:

If the goal in 21st century politics is polarization, you can't do better than Open Borders vs Closed Borders. You are at the mathematical extreme. Done.

But with 21st century mathematics, you can probably construct a fractal geometry construct that is infinitely open yet closed (or vice versa).

Like the philosophers who design trolley problems, open border advocates are good at pointing out logical inconsistencies in their opponent's arguments.

What they miss is that both issues show how obvious it is that real humans make moral decisions by heuristics, not flawless logic. If you are serious about trying to solve this as a moral problem, your solution will need to account for that.

So then, I think we should accept a lot more immigrants than we do. But all this talk about open borders actually makes that LESS likely.

All it does is help to stoke the craziest fears of the the xenophobes who are already mobilizing into an effective and influential one issue lobby while their mostly non-voting libertarian adversaries congratulate themselves about their moral superiority.

So then, I think we should accept a lot more immigrants than we do.

Why? The country does not have any fertility deficits of note. The economic benefits of immigration to the extant population are minimal. The institutional capacity to integrate immigrants is shot.

Immigration is economically beneficial for the extant population of useful people that are well educated and live in real cities, and bad for useless people. The least the useless leeches can do is quit bitching as without us they'd be living in a third world shithole.

I doubt the attitude behind the open borders advocacy often gets more lucid expression.

You're going to need a useless leech when your HVAC system breaks down, buddy.

No, the HVAC guy speaks Spanish. His boss speaks English and if he didn't go to a university, well he is certainly sending his kids there. And he sure hopes they will move to NYC or SF and get jobs on Wall Street or in a start up (or marry someone who does).

The useless leeches are home on disability, or at best doing some make-work job in the military industrial complex, listening to Rush Limbaugh and bitching about how dey turk err jurbs.

Courtesy the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we discover that 3.9% of the workforce is employed in "Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations". The share of 'hispanics' employed in such occupations is...3.6%. About 12% of the population of the United States speaks Spanish at home. The 89% or so of your repairmen who do not speak Spanish are the 89% you elect not to notice.

Come for a hike with me. If you trip and fall, I will stab you in the back. This will make things better.

What is the fascination with open borders? Why is Alex even thinking about this junk? Borders are just property rights. They are fundamental to society. The notion that a nation's land belongs to its citizens is exactly the same as the notion that a company's assets belong to its shareholders, or that my property belongs to me. It's not immoral. It's not a moral question at all.

Seriously. Why is this even debatable on an economics blog?

Here's an economics question:

Why does Harvard limit enrollment? Should it not open its borders so anyone who wants their MBA degree can get it? What would that do to the value of a Harvard MBA degree?

Not much. Most people would fail anyway.

On the contrary I believe 100 times or more as many people could earn a Harvard degree if given the chance.This would certainly dilute the cachet, would it not?



100 is too high, but 10 or more is clearly true.

So you are advocating for a White America, because immigration would dilute the white brand? I guess your dad enjoyed Pat Boone, you liked Vanilla Ice (his one-hit is still popular here in PH), and your kids like Eminem? Noted, Mr. Racist.

Only a racist would come up with that response. He is advocating for elitism not racism

That's racist

"The gains to eliminating migration barriers amount to large fractions of world GDP... When it comes to policies that restrict emigration, there appear to be trillion-dollar bills on the sidewalk."

Owning land, financial shares, or property is not predicated on citizenship. Western countries also generally don't restrict citizenship only to birthright. Barring participation in one society based upon birthright and the emergent material circumstances therein is absolutely a moral question, not mention reprehensible.

If you don't see how immigration policy that can affect people's wages and employment is subject to rich economic analysis, you have truly lived up to your title.

Avoid strawmen! We're not talking about barring participation. We're talking about all but eliminating the cost of immigration.

Of course immigration policy affects wages and employment! America is prosperous largely because it's full of Americans, who value and express and propagate civic virtues like paying taxes, and sending your kids to school, and living peacefully with people of other religions. Places that are less prosperous are often so because they, well, have different values. To suggest that the prosperity of being American is somehow arbitrary and disconnected from the practice of being an American is absurd.

Not every place in the world is equally well-suited to mass economic activity. Nature’s bounty is divided unevenly.

I don't think Tabarrok actually believes that differences in "nature's bounty" are an important cause of global inequality. For example, he knows about research showing that people's ancestry, not the territory they happen to inhabit, determines the success of societies.

Variations in wealth and income created by these differences are magnified by governments that suppress entrepreneurship and promote religious intolerance, gender discrimination, or other bigotry.

Again, "good institutions" do not fall from the sky. The capacity of different peoples to build good institutions varies. I think Tabarrok knows this, and he is just being politically correct. What he really means to say is that some peoples are incapable of high-level civilization, whether for cultural or genetic reasons, and the best way to help them is to let them move wherever other, more capable peoples live. By magical osmosis, they and their descendants will then forget their old ways and transform into first-worlders.

The overwhelming majority of would-be immigrants want little more than to make a better life for themselves and their families by moving to economic opportunity and participating in peaceful, voluntary trade.

This is, of course, empirically false. Third-world immigrants are a drain on the finances of European welfare states. You may argue that the problem is the welfare state, not the immigrants, but the welfare state is a sticky property of European societies, reflecting the moral convictions of Europeans. It's not something that can be assumed away. Any model that assumes it away can be readily discarded.

Economists have estimated that a world of open borders would double world GDP.

That estimate is even more fictional that the typical economist's prognosis. It ignores all the unintended consequences of open borders.

Nathan Smith is a lot more honest open borders advocate than Tabarrok. He admits that open borders would probably destroy currently existing first world institutions and cultures.

No standard moral framework, be it utilitarian, libertarian, egalitarian, Rawlsian, Christian, or any other well-developed perspective, regards people from foreign lands as less entitled to exercise their rights—or as inherently possessing less moral worth—than people lucky to have been born in the right place at the right time. Nationalism, of course, discounts the rights, interests, and moral value of “the Other, but this disposition is inconsistent with our fundamental moral teachings and beliefs.

But what do those moral frameworks say about the erosion of the rule of law and equality before the law, the destruction of the environment, ballooning inequality, wage depression, collapsing levels of human capital, cultural conflict, and other obvious consequences of open borders? You must weigh such things against the supposed benefits of immigration if you want to be taken seriously.

"Nathan Smith is a lot more honest open borders advocate than Tabarrok. He admits that open borders would probably destroy currently existing first world institutions and cultures."

I don't know that that makes him *more* honest per se, he just has a different view than others of us. I think you're presupposing that the issues you've raised have been empirically settled so anybody disagreeing with you is dishonest. This is why I support betting norms, because it would allow those for and against open-borders to demonstrate more sincerely their levels of confidence in their claims.

Tabarrok paints an extremely rosy picture of the consequences of his proposed policies and does not even try to address his opponents' arguments. That is at least dishonesty by omission. Moreover, having read his blog posts for years, I think that he does not actually believe in, for example, the "nature’s bounty" argument -- he's just trying sell his argument by any means.

Many of the issues I've raised are empirically settled, e.g. the lower human capital of third-world immigrants, their being a burden on the welfare states, cultural conflict, increase in inequality and CO2 emissions due to immigration, etc.

This is why I support betting norms

What would that entail in practice?

A betting norm is that people make claims and they are only taken seriously if they put money on specific predictions. So open borders advocates/opponents should make conditional bets about specific outcomes should open borders be enacted. This discourages people from making bold pronouncements one way or the other unless they believe they have some special insight. That's an improvement on the status quo even if its still imperfect.

I don't think anything you've mentioned is settled in the sense that there is a two-sigma significant result substantiating that each of the things you mentioned shows open borders leads to generally-agreed upon bad outcomes. That's fine, causality in social science is very tricky. Every claim in social science should be regarded with great skepticism at least until we can come up with objective (impersonal) methods that successfully, consistently predict a wide variety of phenomena.

A betting norm is that people make claims and they are only taken seriously if they put money on specific predictions.

It seems that you would have to actually open the borders for betting to make sense. That's not a feasible way to solve the dispute.

I don’t think anything you’ve mentioned is settled in the sense that there is a two-sigma significant result substantiating that each of the things you mentioned shows open borders leads to generally-agreed upon bad outcomes. That’s fine, causality in social science is very tricky.

The results I mentioned can be seen from simple descriptive statistics. Causality is obvious. For example, third-world immigrants (and their children) score lower on aptitude tests and have lower levels of scholastic achievement than natives. Similarly, it's obvious that when someone moves, say, from Somalia to Norway, their standard of living greatly increases as does their carbon footprint. Countries like Sweden and Denmark have excellent public registries that make the fiscal burden caused by third-worlders easy to estimate, etc.

It all sounds very scary.

Any supporting documentation for any of these opinions?

Be more specific. Which ones do you disagree with? For example, human capital losses in terms of educational achievement/ability due to immigration are pretty easy to estimate. Do you think that if, say, 100 million poorly educated Africans turn up in Europe, it will not increase inequality or welfare spending? Do you think that when people from countries with low per capita CO2 emissions move to countries with high emissions, this will not increase CO2 emissions? Do you think Muslim immigration to Europe has not caused cultural/religious conflicts?

human capital losses - a decline in AVERAGE human capital (proxied by educational achievement) does not mean an actual decline in human capital. The human capital of the pre-existing population does not decline, and meanwhile the human capital of newcomers is presumably higher than it would otherwise have been.

inequality/welfare with 100 million Africans in Europe - probably this would increase national measures of inequality, but this would represent a decline in international inequality. Moreover, with welfare, all that is required is that immigrants aren't given access to the social security system for some period, say, 5 years.

Yes, I agree that total CO2 emissions would likely increase at the national and international levels, although perhaps this would be masked be declines in CO2 emissions per capita.

No one seems to care about international inequality which has been plummeting for a long time


Are you suggesting the AT is lying?

That can't be true... Has it ever happened before...

Actually, has it ever not been true?

The 'trillion-dollar-bills' nonsense is a lie, and none of the libertarians promoting this have any excuses.

Why exactly do you spend time reading and commenting on his blog?

As for me, I spend time on this blog to help the cucks. I refuse to consider two sides to any argument, because it will cuck me.

Taking the other side of the argument seriously makes you weak and pathetic. Only losers do this. Strong people are right no matter what, because they are strong, and strength makes you right.

I am leading the way to a better future. A future where truth comes from white supremacist brainwashing. Some people will try to tell you that you have been shamed into racist. But don't give in. They are just trying to shame you. I wasn't brainwashed. I was always right, and will always be right. There is no evidence to the contrary, because I was always right.

I will never be cucked. Because I'm so smrt. Now try to cuck that.

Alex, have you read/commented anywhere on Nathan Smith's pieces below? I thought they were extremely interesting and I'd be curious to hear your take.

That guy has some sort of mental illness causing his open borders fanaticism. Holy shit.

"Less entitled to their rights—or as inherently possessing less moral worth—than people lucky to have been born in the right place at the right time."

This is a strange formulation. Children of a set of parents don't spring up randomly in different countries from those parents. The parents have invested in making the place of birth amenable for their young. And they work very hard to pass those lessons on so the next generation also benefits. It's a generational contract much like inheritance - or do they have no more right to inherited property as well.

Perhaps the author doesn't have children. Personally I find that people without kids - generally - have a more cavalier approach to the future. Those of us with kids are perhaps more delicately tuned to potential risks.

This smug traitor Tabbarok already wrote the same damn thing in 2000: and it was just as wrong then.

Today he quotes himself in the OP as asserting that really, when you think hard enough about it, "No standard moral framework, be it utilitarian, libertarian, egalitarian, Rawlsian, Christian, or any other well-developed perspective," disagrees with him. Of course this is retarded. I haven't read this latest piece because it is sure to be just as fanatical as the 2000 one. What follows is a response to the earlier one.

Tabarrok’s analysis of each of these moral perspectives fails to live up to his earlier promise to face his opponents’ best argument. The best argument against wide open unrestricted immigration from crappy places to good places is that past some threshold, it will destroy the good places. No more civilization, in other words, or at least such a diminution in the success of the host societies that people no longer even want to emigrate there. Call this the critical-mass argument.

I’m not going to defend the critical-mass argument. I wish merely to show that Tabarrok’s pat moral analysis doesn’t include that possibility. If mass immigration meant the end of Western Civilization and the dissipation of white societies to the dismal level of order and prosperity now experienced in the feeder countries, then at least three of these moral perspectives would have to favor restrictions on immigration. I consider them briefly.

On utilitarianism Tabarrok says: "It’s easy to see that immigrants are benefited more from coming to America than natives are harmed." In the very short run, yes. Then again in the very short run, utilitarianism combined with declining marginal utility demands massive redistribution of wealth going even further than opening the border. Tabarrok clearly doesn’t support that which means that for him to discuss something as vague as "utilitarianism" and then declare that it is on his side, is disingenuous. Anyway, over the long run the assertion that utilitarianism implies open borders obviously depends on the critical-mass argument being false.

"Contemporary liberalism or any ideology which asserts the importance of redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor would certainly favor open borders." This hardly seems worth speculating about since contemporary liberalism clearly does favor open borders. But contemporary liberalism is retarded, and so is Tabarrok’s entire paragaph discussing it. Anyway, the contemporary liberal egalitarian position depends on the falsity of the critical-mass argument—I doubt that even egalitarians would sign up for chaos and calamity if they could be convinced that that were the likely result of full open borders. Therefore their support again depends on the critical-mass argument being false.

Rawlsianism: that’s an easy one. I’m behind the veil of ignorance. I prefer a chance at being born into a prosperous and orderly society to no chance at all. Therefore I only favor open borders if I’m pretty sure they won’t spell the end of civilization.

That leaves Christianity. In one way this is like contemporary liberalism, in that we know that Tabarrok doesn’t actually care what the Christian viewpoint is. If the Pope had said that secular authorities have the divine right to maintain the integrity of nations, Tabarrok would simply not have cited him. On the other hand, Tabarrok has already in this article cited several Christians—sort of. John Locke was a Christian; Alex Tabarrok is not; Thomas Jefferson may be somewhere in the middle. This is the lineage of the bearers of that inescapably religious doctrine which Tabarrok cited earlier in the article: natural rights. But natural rights are natural rights, and if their observance leads to the Eschaton, so be it. God’s will be done, and when the rapture comes the righteous will hopefully ascend to heaven.

A place like England already resembles to a great degree the eschatological depictions of it found in dozens of books and films, such as 1984 or the 1992 novel and 2006 film Children of Men. That film depicts a near-future world in which mankind can no longer reproduce. England is a chaotic police state; terrorist bombings are commonplace; in a clear case of closing the barn door after the horse has got out (snuck in, in this case?), immigration is officially forbidden but the population is significantly non-white. Non-whites live in brutal squalor in vast slums; non-elite whites are no better off (convergence!). If this is hard to imagine, you can just go to today’s London, or Detroit, or St. Louis, and observe it yourself. The film’s Christian theme is unsubtle: redemption comes from a young immigrant girl who has conceived, if not immaculately, then at least anonymously. An immigrant, oppressed, downtrodden, hunted by the state, is the hope of man. But I would just as soon avoid the whole Rapture thing.

Contrary to its Whig origins, economics is properly considered a special case not of moral theory, but of thermodynamics, including information theory. Useful thermodynamic systems expend energy to stave off disorder. That includes living organisms, man-made contrivances, and whole societies. If there is a break in your skin, you court infection, disorder, and death. If there is a big hole in your refrigerator, the motor will blow out. In all cases energy must be used to maintain the boundary between the system and the entropic universe. There is no real, practical reason to think that human societies are any different. As the impetus for mass immigration clearly itself shows, order and prosperity are the historical and geographical exception, not the rule. It may make sense to conserve these things. That, or get on Jesus’ good side so that when he returns he’ll take you to heaven with him.

That this guy is fit for tenure and not for prison is very bad news for our future.

What I find most interesting about Alex's article is that there is no discussion of tradeoffs. Every significant policy change has tradeoffs. Even if it is not always easy to quantify them, there are always costs and benefits. Yet here we are talking about a huge change in policy, with enormous and potentially unforeseeable repercussions, and yet Alex lists only benefits. I find the un-nuanced tone of the article a bit odd coming from an economist.

True. Thats what this comment section i for i guess :D

Exactly what I was thinking.

And the benefits of current immigration only accrue because the borders are not open. The hurdle screens for skills and suitability.

Remove the huddle and the quality of arrivals plummets.

I wonder if Alex and Tyler ever discuss Singapore's immigration policy. It sets a very high bar on income and education and provides relatively few opportunities for permanent settlement.

It's proof that immigration can be very beneficial but would Alex seriously argue that it would be better off with no screening of arrivals.

For most European countries solution is not difficult. Just require the native language for the job (even the more simple ones). For Uk/Australia/US/France maybe a tax on arrival to cover the costs of "establishment"?

Singapore is a prison island dude. It's only a destination of choice for rich Asians who live in even more crude countries. Nobody from a first-rate country immigrates to Singapore (or Israel, which shares similarities) by choice, it's more of a forced move.


"Singapore is a prison island dude"

Funny. Singapore goes to pains to keep people out. Does the Philippines? Actually, Singapore deports Filipino illegals (and executes Filipinos who commit terrible crimes).

Prison island? Seems like from the number of Filipinos trying to get it, it must be paradise.

Do Filipinos envy Singaporeans that much? Are you representative in this respect?

This is a very legitimate critique.

+1. The trade-offs depend on the form of government of each country. Little downside for dictatorships that can maintain control, benevolent or otherwise. In democracies all rights are up for grabs and subject to the wishes of the simple majority (e.g., in the US, there's no need for a supermajority when a majority gets to decide who's on the Supreme Court). For any democracy that has an above average degree freedom of speech and religion, due process, property rights, the right to self-defense, freedom of association, freedom from being drafted into the military, etc., the downside is an increased risk of losing all of these things by nonselectively allowing people from other countries that do not have these rights (and are in general less likely to support these rights) decide whether you should continue to have these rights.

Here, I'll speak only for the US.

Rights here are certainly not up for grabs. Our constitution is extremely difficult to amend, and applies to all people within our borders, citizen or not. Our constitution and government is structured so that while the majority generally rules, the minorities have significant protections against the majority. Supreme court justices serve for life, so to even be able to appoint one is entirely up to historical circumstance. Furthermore, they do not decide what rights we enjoy, but their interpretation and application in usually complex circumstances.

The idea that people who come from repressive regimes that denied them rights will come here, enjoy them, but somehow a)grow to reject them and b)circumvent the legal process to destroy them has no historical precedent here. Quite the opposite, in fact. We are an immigrant nation. We were founded by immigrants, and have always been absorbing outside populations, sometimes even against their will, and over time their participation has been strengthened, along with our rights and our prosperity.

That's the civics textbook response, but we have all seen that rights are certainly up for grabs here with many close cases at the Supreme Court (2nd Amendment, ACA, Kelo, marriage, association, abortion, even who won the presidential election). Amending the constitution is difficult; changing the meaning of the constitution happens every year. And despite lifetime appointments, almost every President gets to appoint justices; even Kennedy and Ford did in their short terms. And it's not just at the Supreme Court, very few cases get there, and most lower courts just defer to the executive and legislative branches in the normal course of business. There has never been a time of open borders combined with high welfare rights and cheap travel costs, so history isn't much of a guide as to what would happen. Moving in the direction of more open immigration is sensible; pretending that there's no potential downside to open borders is crazy. Fortunately it's never going to happen because normal people don't get as reckless as academics about these things. So we've got that going for us, which is nice.

The constitution may not change but the interpretation of it sure can. Do you think the federal government would need a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol production like it did 100 years ago?

We were founded by immigrants,

Nope, we were founded by pioneers, colonists, and conquerors.

and have always been absorbing outside populations,

There is the question of scale. During the period prior to 1840 and again from 1924 to 1965, annual immigration averaged about 0.125% of the extant population. During the former period, the source countries were such that the composition of the population remained much the same. During the latter, there were specific national-origin quotas which fixed immigration and 1890 demographic balances. Cut total immigration, legal and illegal, to about 400,000, and require they be proficient in English 'ere entry, and you'll arrive at the situation we had for much of our history. "For ourselves and our posterity".

sometimes even against their will,

Not really. The Phillippines were never conceived of as a permanent possession and the southwest was exceedingly sparsely popuated.

and over time their participation has been strengthened, along with our rights and our prosperity.

Actually, many of our rights have been shot out from under us the last 80 years, notably freedom of contract and association. It's pretty odd to attribute 'prosperity' to mass immigration. Econometric research indicates the benefits are small and you have sterling examples of loci (see Japan) which are prosperous with very little immigration.

This is true of every Tabarrok post. He is blind, and I believe willfully so, to any potential shortcomings or downfalls to any of his proposals. There are only benefits.

He is shockingly lax as a critical thinker.

@Urso - I tend to agree. Witness AlexT's stance on IP: IP is bad (citing Disney and copyrights, a caricature, and patent trolls, at most a mere nuisance to most businesses) and ergo we must destroy IP. He stakes extreme claims since his name will be more prominent. Shakespeare perfected this form of trolling.

You just have to shake your head at this sort of thing. Our college faculties are shot through with people whose judgment is so poor they need to be kept away from any influence on public policy. Ever.

The history of this nation is also the tale of a constant effort, lasting to our own day, to embody those lofty principles in social and political life. We remember the great struggles which led to the abolition of slavery, the extension of voting rights, the growth of the labor movement, and the gradual effort to eliminate every kind of racism and prejudice directed at successive waves of new Americans.

I have no idea where these vague, cliched platitudes belong in a discussion about the real public policy implications of immigration.

Don't you recognize the words of the Holy Father, blessed be his name?

Yea, I generally don't take public policy advice or economic evidence from a man in "holy" robes and a funny hat.

How about nine guys in funny robes?

Open Borders seems to be having a moment. Time also featured a piece on migration by Bryan Caplan.

No, they published it so people could point and laugh.


Open Borders is having a moment. So is Donald Trump. So is Marine Le Pen. So are the Sweden Democrats. That fact a party like the Sweden Democrats could have gained a mass constituency is a scathing indictment of the political class in Sweden.

Alex doesn't care about improving the outcomes of the immigrants. He just wants to gut the welfare state and Open Borders will do that. It is mind boggling that he doesn't address the drawbacks of Open Borders.

An absolutely awful post. At least Tyler usually makes some effort to deal with the opposing point of view.


"Alex doesn’t care about improving the outcomes of the immigrants. He just wants to gut the welfare state and Open Borders will do that. It is mind boggling that he doesn’t address the drawbacks of Open Borders."

That's what he hopes will happen. What will really happen is far less clear. The entire welfare left (including the communist party) favors Open Borders. Presumably they don't think that Open Borders will gut the welfare state. Actually, some communists probably agree with Alex. They hope that the combination of Open Borders, racial antagonisms, and the elimination of the welfare state will finally bring the revolution

However, most of the welfare left thinks that importing welfare recipients will expand the constituency for the welfare state. They appear to be correct about that. A small part of the welfare left accepts the "larger constituency" theory, but recognizes that the economics don't work. They oppose mass immigration as a consequence. Of course, they are a minority on the left.

Peter Schaeffer, your comments are entertaining and highly articulate. Do you have a blog or book to read more of?

The idea that leftists want to increase immigration to win votes for ever expanding welfare is utter rubbish, a rumour routinely expounded by the right.

Have you ever ever ever anywhere heard even the remotest hint of an actual leftists who actually makes something remotely bordering on the tiniest hint that they actually think this way? I surely have not.

The idea that leftists want to increase immigration to win votes for ever expanding welfare is utter rubbish, a rumour routinely expounded by the right.

More precisely, they want mass immigration to displace social groups they despise who vote against them. Michael Lind was writing about this 15 years ago and Democratic Party office schemers were freely admitting to him they wanted to build a base out of hispanics because the ordinary working class was lost to them.


"The idea that leftists want to increase immigration to win votes for ever expanding welfare is utter rubbish, a rumour routinely expounded by the right. Have you ever ever ever anywhere heard even the remotest hint of an actual leftists who actually makes something remotely bordering on the tiniest hint that they actually think this way? I surely have not."

You have got to be kidding. Democrats routinely boast about how they will rule the future via mass immigration. Two prominent Democrats wrote a book about it. See "The Emerging Democratic Majority Paperback" by John B. Judis, Ruy Teixeira.

From Publishers Weekly

In 1969 a prescient Kevin Phillips published The Emerging Republican Majority, predicting the rise of the conservative Republican movement. Now Judis, a senior editor at the New Republic, and Teixeira, a fellow at the Century Foundation and author of The Disappearing American Voter, argue that, if current demographic and political trends continue, a new realignment of political power is inevitable, this time sweeping Democrats to power. In support of their thesis they argue that the electorate is becoming increasingly diverse, with growing Asian, Hispanic and African-American populations-all groups that tend to vote Democratic. On the other hand, the number of white Americans, the voting population most likely to favor Republicans, remains static. Further, according to the authors, America's transition from an industrial to a postindustrial economy is also producing voters who trend strongly Democratic. Judis and Teixeira coin the word "ideopolis" for the geographic areas where the postindustrial economy thrives. They also argue that other changes, specifically the growing educated professional class and the continuing "gender gap," will benefit Democrats, whose political ideology is more consonant with the needs and beliefs of women and professionals. Judis and Teixeira predict that all these elements will converge by 2008, at the latest, when a new Democratic majority will emerge. Wisely, they warn that their predictions are just that, and that events might overtake the trends. But their warning will bring little comfort to Republicans, who will find their well-supported thesis disturbing.

Recognizing a demographic fact does not mean that they are trying to stack the deck.

Republicans hate to admit that demographics are simply against them unless they change, so they prefer conspiracy theories.

Do you suggest that Democrats set higher immigration rates for the explicit purpose of expanding their voter base? I suggest that they set immigration for other reasons, but are simply aware that this will also benefit them.


"Do you suggest that Democrats set higher immigration rates for the explicit purpose of expanding their voter base?"

That's a testable theory. Democrats strongly oppose any Amnesty scheme that doesn't include voting rights. Legal status in the U.S. is not enough.


It goes the other way as well. Some Republicans strongly support Open Borders, but get very upset at the idea of immigrants voting. Note that Governor Perry of Texas is rabidly pro-illegal and just as strongly in favor of Voter Id laws. So is the WSJ (on both points).

Perry and the WSJ really want slaves. A permanent class of helots, who can be exploited forever, with no political rights (and ideally no welfare state costs). Of course, you can find people in this comments section who also favor immigration without voting rights and no access to the welfare state.

In my opinion, the right-wing Open Borders lobby is pathetic, at best.

How about Tony Blair and the rest of the gang?

The economic argument for open borders is to allow a temporary increase in the welfare of billions of people at the expense of a permanent decrease in the welfare of hundreds of millions of people within the US. The open borders crowd has no respect for US citizens. The capital to labor ratio would fall dramatically in the US. This would cause wages for US workers to fall dramatically as the US wage falls to the world average. A dramatic fall in the US citizens standard of living is the "moral" thing to do, however. Right?

When I look at the world, at those patterns of human nature which are repeated, I would say one pattern is respect for rich men, but at the same time great approval when those rich men do good works, commit to charity. Maybe all you need to say is "Bill Gates." He is respected in many lands, his charity is appreciated, but no one really expects him to impoverish himself (or his family!). Basically no one demands that Bill Gates shave his head and join a monastery.

It seems to be human nature to approve of both success and charity.

How does this relate to immigration? I'd say the same success and charity equation applies. Most people do not expect rich countries to go to extremes, to impoverish themselves, but it is met with approval when they try do do good works, with a fraction of their wealth.

Well said. And conversely, by analogy, if Third World India ever allowed open immigration most people in the USA would not have the balls to go live there. BTW it's actually hard for most non-US people to get a tourist visa to go to's quite complicated.

The benefits of the billions would not be temporary. Or, why do you think they would be?

There are two main reasons why the benefits to immigrants would be temporary. The first reason is that as the capital to labor ratio falls with the increasing number of immigrants, the wages in the US will fall as the marginal productivity of labor decreases. Therefore, the benefits to immigrants coming to the US will fall as the wage decreases. The second reason is political in that it is unlikely that capitalism will survive with unlimited immigration as political factions raid the Treasury and the likely shift in US policy to socialism. Open borders will kill the capitalist goose that lays the golden eggs.

One of the strongest arguments against open borders is precisely opposite to your argument. Rather, since the treasury can't afford welfare for all the newcomers, the welfare state would have to be abandoned or significantly curtailed.

And how do you propose that happens, as welfare recipients make far more of the population? The only way is the end of democracy.

People who have made a collective mess of their own country have no moral right to come here and make a mess of mine. We might choose to let them in, but it is our choice.

Recently the Atlantic declared Minneapolis as the "best" big city in America - meaning the best performing Blue City, particularly if you ignore Texas cities. They make all sorts of claims that it's blue policy that has achieved this wondrous result when it's obvious once you step off the plane that the real story of MSP is its intensely homogenous Germanic/Nordic culture which is the big differentiator.

There is a WONDERFUL experiment going on in Europe right now. The question is really will the gain in economic productivity outweigh the loss in social cohesion and the corresponding cultural capital. I've got this nasty little feeling that a few years from now the open borders enthusiasts are going to be drowned out by crickets. But go ahead and make wonderful theoretical arguments. The rest of us will sit here in the messy real world and watch the fun unfold in Germany and Sweden. Gotta get more popcorn.

"particularly if you ignore Texas cities" which of course are some of the least homogeneous in Germanic/Nordic culture.

Interesting that when you get to Rodeo Drive, in California, what at first seems an affectation in pronunciation is actually closer to the original.

@racist, reactionary, bigoted Bill Reeves-- save your popcorn, I can already tell you how the movie ends. Econ studies have shown that homogeneous countries (like Denmark) outperform heterogeneous closed countries (like Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, former or ex-post, and pretty much any region in Africa, which is very diverse save for they all look dark), but are about equal with heterogeneous open countries (like the USA). Long story short: racism works, but so does a completely open society. What doesn't work is Belarus, a closed society.

But (and this is speculative but not unsound) animal husbandry says mixed races are better than pure-bred. So put that in your hookah and smoke it.

Northern Europe has benefited from a century of market capitalism and expanding democracy, but also a century of relative isolation. Even now "open" borders work better when you are hard to get to.


I think we know the real racist

"There is a WONDERFUL experiment going on in Europe right now."

If we did want to run some epic experiment like this, why wouldn't we try it in a problem country where there isn't as much to lose, rather than trying such a massive experiment on the most successful and desirable nations on Earth? Medicine experiments with treatments on animals first, then to sick people, before giving the treatment to healthy people.

It's also much easier to engage in mass migration later rather than reverse mass migration, which would suggest being particularly risk averse.

How does this interact with the welfare state again?

Also, I also hope that alex know his libertarian ideology or any slim variation of it that current exists in politics would be dead overnight and forever. So if this is his number one issue and crisis- fine. But every other priority he has, especially in regards to markets, would be over.

To people whose solution to the question of welfare for immigrants using welfare is "deny them welfare," what about their children and grandchildren? You know that they will in all likelihood have a similar occupational profile as their parents.

WhatsApp founder: Food stamps to billionaire

There is a case for immigration, and a fear that everyone who arrives will end up on welfare is unfounded. According to Forbes, 51 out of the total 492 billionaire fortunes in the U.S. now belong to foreign-born individuals.

Which foreign countries did they immigrate from?

None of those eight examples were from this hemisphere. And to note that "Dagmar Dolby," one of the individuals on that list is only rich because she married an American and inherited his fortune. But you don't learn that from

Should I argue with people who can't use Google? Is that like arguing with a dog?

Arte Moreno is worth a billion.

Should argue with people who can't read comments?

Should I argue with people who can’t read comments?

"There is a case for immigration, and a fear that everyone who arrives will end up on welfare is unfounded. According to Forbes, 51 out of the total 492 billionaire fortunes in the U.S. now belong to foreign-born individuals."

This is a ridiculous strawman.
No one claims everyone who arrives will end up on welfare. Just a significant enough minority (in the case of Europe and mislims - possibly a majority).

Also, using 51 cases as an argument for the migration of (tens/hundreds of) millions of people is idiocy.

To go in the same direction, Mexicans are probably around an eight of the us population currently. Are they an eight (~61) of the billionaires? Why not?
Do we have any reason to think that the masses of the third world will do better than mexicans - people comming from a somehow civilized country of middle income with pretty western type of culture?

What I see is you fighting a little data, admittedly, with no data of your own at all. Who is unarmed?

Pointing out the idiotic logical flaw in your argument does not need data. It's how a priori logical reasoning works.
But it requires a functioning brain to understand that.

Right, racism is its own reward.

We need an addition to reduction ad hitlerum. Reduction ad racismus sounds good.

The fact that you are using SJW derived words in the hope to discredit some position or ideology does not make it false.
If you knew anything about logic, you would have know.

If the sheet fits, wear it.

John - Pointing out that there are a fair number of highly successful American immigrants is not a strawman.

You are very insulting to anyone you disagree with. Please grow up.

"If the sheet fits, wear it."

It's called a thawb, raciste lecteur.

I have a functioning brain. The proof is that I haven't been cucked. Gochujang is a pathetic cuck because he thinks that 51 billionaire immigrants is relevant.

He's such an SJW. SJW are stupid stupid people who have been brainwashed into thinking that it's natural to care about other people. The world would be better if no one cared about anyone else, except for when they take a break to worship my white skin.

As for me, I derive my intelligence and wisdom from my skin colour, and nothing will ever cuck me. I'm a member of the 1% extreme. And that's how I know I'm right.

Any doubt of my high intellect and strength of argumentation? Just look at the quality of the insult. This is how to avoid being cucked: seek strength by insulting the cucks, and they will soon come over to the illuminating presence of my intellect, wisdom and superior argumentation.

Did I tell you how smrt I am? Did I forget to mention that excessive melanin makes you stupid? Maybe one day someone will invent a drug to reduce skin melanin in inferior people, and this will make them smrt like me.

Never acknowledge legitimacy of the other side of the argument. It will cuck you. This is how I stay so smrt.

"You are very insulting to anyone you disagree with. Please grow up. "

I'm not interested in debate with morons. I simply smash them.

"Pointing out that there are a fair number of highly successful American immigrants is not a strawman."

The whole argument was a strawman because the implied conculsion does not follow from the statistical outlier of a premise presented. Not to mention that the premise in question really is not what is being claimed it is.

Keep fighting that noble battle. I'm sure you will accomplish something one of these days.

You're not smashing anyone. You're throwing around insults like an 8-year old child (albeit using grown up words) on the playground. It is not very convincing.

"Keep fighting that noble battle. I’m sure you will accomplish something one of these days."

I have already achieved more than you ever will, cucked manlet.

"You’re not smashing anyone. You’re throwing around insults like an 8-year old child (albeit using grown up words) on the playground. It is not very convincing."

I'm not in the habit of convincing evolutionary loser of anything. I'm in the habit of telling them how much of a retarded idiots they are. And bashing their heads in if I do that in person and they attack me, giving me plausible excuse for lawful self defense. Something that will work on the John2 cuck if we were talking face to face.

John must have stopped taking his medicine again. The delusions of grandeur seem to be getting worse.

Maybe it's time to try electro-shock therapy.

Maybe it's time evolutionary manlet failures like you kill themsleves and stop wasting oxygen?

You confirm my point. You are offensive, not convincing.

But please do tell. What leads you to believe in your evolutionary superiority? You are oh so very sure, so it shouldn't be hard.

Did you make lots of babies who you brainwashed into white supremacist racism? Did you start a successful company? Did you obtain a high level of academic qualification? Did you learn five languages, travel the world and learn about many cultures? Do you exchange with world leaders on matters of policy importance? Did you reach a high level in government or a private company? Did you because the go-to man in your hometown in a profession such as accounting, law or medicine? Did you invent something that will improve welfare for mankind?

Go ahead you big man you. Tell us what has led you to believe that God smiles on your genes, and how you think these genes had anything to do with your successes.

"Did you make lots of babies who you brainwashed into white supremacist racism?"

"Did you obtain a high level of academic qualification?"

"Did you reach a high level in government or a private company?"

"Did you because the go-to man in your hometown in a profession such as accounting, law or medicine?"

"You are offensive, not convincing."
I don't want to convince you of anything. I want people like you to drown in their own blood.

Anything I don't like is made of straw. And I will never be cucked. I am strong. Do not give in to the cuck.

This is how I know I'm wise.

Wow, you had time to brainwash lots of children into white supremacy AND obtain high qualifications AND obtain high levels in government/corporation AND are the go-to man in a profession in your town.

Please do tell. Which company, which political position, and which town you are so highly respected in. Honestly, I don't believe you (except perhaps for the brainwashing children into white supremacists part). But you are so full of white pride that I don't doubt you will be happy to share with us so we can all learn to respect you a little more.

I feel sorry for your children. Angry is not a very nice way to live. The world is a much better place when you respect people who are different from you.

Honestly, based on the posts you have made here, you really need to see a shrink, try to find the origins of your anger and hate, and try to map out a pathway to a better life which includes respect for people around you. I guarantee it, you will be a happier man when you learn to respect others.

The blog has had dysfunctional comments sections for years now. If the owners cared they would long since have done something about it.

About the only posts I've ever seen disappear are posts from the guy with ax to grind about GMU and the guy who copy-pastas a long rant about da joos.

"everyone who arrives will end up on welfare is unfounded "

Straw man. Nobody believe everyone will end up on welfare, just many.

51 immigrants becoming billionaires proves that all immigrants will succeed?


"According to Forbes, 51 out of the total 492 billionaire fortunes in the U.S. now belong to foreign-born individuals"

Life for the math challenged. Immigrants are much more than 10% of the U.S. population and labor force. That makes immigrants significantly less productive than the natives (in producing billionaires).

Of course, the real story is that they all (or almost all) came from Europe or Asia even though only a minority of U.S. immigrants are from Europe/Asia. Like it or not the billionaire story shows (suggests) two things. First, immigrants are not notably productive in American society. Second, low-skill immigrants are much less productive than the natives.

Basically, you are making the case for restriction, not Open Borders.

Have you read Jason Richwine's dissertation? The third and fourth generation descendants of Mexican immigrants are doing about as badly as the first generation.

Yes, I spend a lot of time reading dissertations. Whatever it takes to feed my obsession with white supremacy. I may not have anything else going on, but at least I'm a member of the master race.

Maybe not use fake names, John2 cuck?

God speaks to me personally. He tells me that white people are superior to everyone.

I hear his voices reminding me of this on a daily basis. But I'm not schizophrenic. I commune with God.

This is why I immerse myself in white supremacist propaganda which has shamed me into understand the truth of my superiority. Moreover, I now understand that the mere act of conversing with non-whites will completely undermine white culture.

This is how strong white culture is. We will not listen to anything that shows that other people are OK too. It will undermine us. But we are strong.

But I'm not racist or anything. I just know that my skin colour makes me better than everyone else. Probably skin melanin directly affects intelligence, but it doesn't matter if no one every proves it, or if it has already been proven wrong, because I studied really hard for an IQ test and got an OK score, which means I can believe whatever I want.

Whatever I believe is true. And everyone who disagrees is not just wrong, and not just stupid, but probably mentally ill and not deserving of life.

Did I tell you I'm real smrt?

Nice try putting 'God' in there, John2 cuck.

"Probably skin melanin directly affects intelligence"
No one is saying that (race is not skin deep) but you are still stuck in your Boasian world where everybody is the same.
Well, news for you - they are not.

Enjoy your loserdom, cuck.

I met a guy the other day who tried to cuck me. So I ignored everything he had to say, except for nitpicking at some details.

Because I found something to nitpick about in what he said, this confirms that everything that I always knew was true is in fact true.

I will never be cucked. White supremacy isn't brainwashing, it is truth. You will never manage to cuck me with brainwashing that tries to convince people that it's natural to help people, or brainwashing me into thinking that any other culture or skin colour could ever approach the divine superiority of white culture.

Oh, I forget to mention. White is a culture, not a skin colour. I no longer think with my skin. I think with my culture. Culture is skin colour. Chinese culture is yellow, the colour of pee, and that's why it is so inferior.

You will never cuck me.

John - It's probably God who's trolling you.

God is trying to cuck you. White supremacy is great than God, and we will never be cucked.

I got cucked into moderation, and actually it feels really good.

OK, to be honest, I never actually changed my mind about anything. The rest of you just went of the deep end and I stayed the same.

I got cucked too. I think it feels even better than John4 says.

Let's forget about all this cucking nonsense and just acknowledge that extremism isn't a very happy place to be.

John - I still think God's trying to cuck you. Ask the Virgin Mary. Maybe it will feel good?

John4 - I agree with John5. I used to be an extremist, but then I saw the light. Other people aren't stupid, we just disagree.

The other day, I learned that we became white because too much skin melanin makes it hard to produce vitamin D in northern climes. Since vitamin D helps fight cancer, there was an evolutionary advantage to those with less skin melanin, and eventually we became white. The moral of the story is that the only difference between white people and dark people is that dark people need to take vitamin D supplements.

I can't believe how stupid I used to be. I used to think that black people were monkeys.

It's grossly arrogant for economists, who have as yet little sense of how good institutions come into being and are maintained, to cite a few papers on wages and employment as proving definitively that immigration from countries with bad institutions is at worst benign, at best vastly welfare increasing.

If we take AT at his word, "Getting Rid of Borders—Completely," this would include city, county and state/province boundaries. It would include the abolition of congressional districts. Thus we could (and would) have roving voters. The group that could most successfully organize mass movements at the times of key local and regional elections could very quickly change the fabric of nation and culture, and not likely in a libertarian direction. More fundamentally, the open borders movement opposes the nation state. It should declare such, and lay out the consequences.

I've not voted in years, either in the USA nor in Greece, which has mandatory voting (with a theoretical fine and/or imprisonment if you don't vote). Surprised you think the vote is that important. Save for a vote for abolishing democracy, which I would show up and vote for saving, most votes don't count, don't matter, and are a waste of time, Al Gore's defeat included. You can have more influence working behind the scenes, financing people you like. Most 1%-ers like me feel the same way.

You don't have to give them the vote the day they arrive to respect the idea of free movement of people.

Without borders, what is the basis for differentiating between citizens and non-citizens? AT is not arguing for a more lenient immigration system; he is arguing for the abolition of borders, and thus of governmental authority related to territory.

No, he's not arguing for abolition of borders. He's arguing for free movement of labour. Citizenship, voting franchise, access to welfare, or not present whatsoever in any of his arguments.

Implicitly they are. Ask Alex if he supports Open Borders regardless of those details

I don't see AT advocating abolishing the idea of jurisdiction. He is advocating abolishing restrictions on who can enter a certain jurisdiction to visit, live or work. Those are two different things. The U.S. gets along fine with well-defined state and local boundaries without having to restrict who can enter which state and for what purpose. Many other countries (including in the EU, where many restrictions on crossing national borders have been lifted) regulate internal mobility a bit more and require people to at least register with the police or local authorities when they move to a new home so that it is clear where that person is authorized to vote, under which system they are obligated to pay taxes, etc.

That's not to say I agree with AT but let's be clear on the concept before pointing out its many downsides.

The main worry with open borders are:

1) cultural change, especially political culture

2) welfare state

Let's say we accept open borders as a good principle, and also we accept 1 & 2 as legitimate worries/trade-offs.

There are fairly simple compromises that can be made to work:

Try to have an open immigration system, but limit the amount per year to allow slow assimilation to work over time. Imagine the population of Lahore moving to America. If they moved all at once, to one location,'d get some serious change. If Lahore comes over in the course of 100 years, 10,000 people per year, this would not most likely occur. If you could force dispersement it would be even better, but that would violate freedoms. Its also less of a big deal if you also allow in Chinese or Argentinean at the same time.

For issue 2, just use a points system.

So the obvious compromise is a points based system, with limits on total quantities, to allow the slow methodical assimilation to happen.

"So the obvious compromise is a points based system, with limits on total quantities, to allow the slow methodical assimilation to happen."

I agree!

New immigrants possess skills different from those of their hosts, and these differences enable workers in both groups to better exploit their special talents and leverage their comparative advantages. The effect is to improve the welfare of newcomers and natives alike. The immigrant who mows the lawn of the nuclear physicist indirectly helps to unlock the secrets of the universe.

Well, I see Mexicans mowing lawns, so the only logical explanation is that those Mexicans posses "skills" that White people don't.

....or, they're just willing to accept a standard of living far lower than what White people are and are thus willing to work for wages far lower than what White people are.

At this point, its pretty clear that Tabarrok has a lucrative side-business selling all the salt he harvests from MR comment sections.

Page clicks. Typically several thousand, or for this blog tens of thousands, of dollars will accrue to the blog authors from readers reading these comments and articles. I've done my share to make AlexT more wealthy, time to sign off...

And what with all the acidity, just add ice cubes and tequila.

It would be an awesome idea for Israel to open its borders and turn the country into Lebanon. Sure Alex.

Why would Lebanese go to Israel if they could go anywhere?

Is the closest modern economy, it already has many Arabic speakers. Others may have less noble motives.

Israel would remain a modern economy for perhaps six months. A modern economy requires governmental authority and borders.

Well, the truth is there's nothing really modern about the Middle East save Israel. Israel was the creation of the United Nations, which by definition is for closed borders, so there's your answer. It's about as realistic (from an Open Borders point of view) to have an Israel as it is for the Greeks to occupy Istanbul from the Turks and rename it Constantinople. In short, probably modern Israel is a failed experiment, much as I support it. Probably in a Open Borders world you need a "UN" type supra-international authority to keep places like Israel (and some other places in the world, such as Christian enclaves in Indonesia) in existence as 'open cities' / 'international cities' where there would be world government dedicated to their continuing existence on historical grounds, sort of like Unesco World Heritage sites.

Presumably he was referring to Lebanon as a country that drastically changed demographically with disastrous results.

Is it so mysterious that some of us get concerned when the elite gets concerned about an undifferentiated mass of workers?

"I was asked to write this piece for a forthcoming volume called How to Save Humanity..."

There are more people, with more wealth, living longer and healthier lives, at greater freedom from violence, then any time in human history. So the volume's title seems a bit surprising.

P.S. But if Nick Bostrom explains how we can avoid being destroyed by Terminators, that's probably a valuable read. :-)

These open border mass immigration posts make no really new points. Caplan+Tabarrok have long ago stopped addressing any criticisms or concerns and have been strictly preaching to the choir. Some of the side conversation is interesting at least.

Open borders does not automatically imply mass immigration; it just gives people the choice. The EU countries until recently (the entry of Balkan countries) didn't seem to see much permanent movement of peoples.

The relative slight increase in opportunities did not outweigh the problems like speaking a different language. Its not like the people of Spain were not comfortable.

Compare living in Colombia (for instance) with the US. Huge differences in standard of living and living situation.

An urban geographer quote to me about 20 years ago some statistical studies on the propensity to migrate within the EU. He said a point of inflection appears when the personal incomes per capita reaches 2 to 1, and between two territories with a differential like that or greater, you see migration streams emerge. Without that wage premium, transcending the cultural boundary is not worth it. That between Mexico and the U.S. is about 4 to 1 and there is now a hispanophone population catered to by service providers.


"Open borders does not automatically imply mass immigration"

Actually yes it does. Europe abandoned any effort at border control this year and a tidal wave promptly ensued.

Is a low-skill worker a drain on society everywhere?

If so, how do you plan to prevent low-skill workers?

If not, where are they optimally located?

I think the Pro-Border (for lack of a better term) people are hoping that countries with a preponderance of low-skill people will stew in their juices until some sort of calamity occurs, and lots of people die in wars and epidemics. Not sure what'll happen after that. Perhaps some people hope to go out and colonize what's left of those countries.

I think that whether you're open-border or closed-border, this question is important. Since a major argument of the closed-border side is that low-skill workers will drain the society they come to, then it's important for the open-border side to demonstrate that no, it isn't so, and for the closed-border people to show how closed borders can achieve a more pareto-optimal situation.

It's like Uber, ultimately. Is the only reason the taxis are so lucrative are government protections? Does introducing Uber to a city destroy profitability? Are we worse off for it?

I don't think the closed-border (or pro-border) people are interested in Pareto optimality. Hailing from rich countries, they are exclusively protecting the interests of people in their countries. Interests of immigrants don't figure in their moral calculus.

I'm sure they'll have their own answers.

What's yours?

Selfishness is virtuous except when it's not. Makes sense if you don't think about it.

I don't have any good answers. Perhaps what China did: build up a manufacturing base so low-skill people could leave the farms and improve their quality of lives. But that process also involved much manufacturing moving from countries like the US to countries like China; I don't know if that'll please the pro-border people any more than immigration. And there's only so many places manufacturing can move to, so I don't know if this is a good precedent for other poor countries. For example, if India somehow manages to improve the quality of its state, it might be able to build good infrastructure and build up manufacturing capacity. But then they'll only be competing with poor Chinese workers; hundreds of millions of poor Indians competing with the hundreds of millions of poor Chinese, so general wage and prosperity level in both countries is likely to be low.

Interests of immigrants don’t figure in their moral calculus.

Someone once told Barack Obama, Sr's father (who was stewing over the effect of tribalism on his career in Kenya) that when everyone is your brother, no one is. What we face in this country is a struggle between most of us, who live in a country with our fellow countrymen, and the professional-managerial urban population, who identify with their class and despise the remainder when they think of them at all.


"I think the Pro-Border (for lack of a better term) people are hoping that countries with a preponderance of low-skill people will stew in their juices until some sort of calamity occur"

Actually, no. I can only speak for myself of course. However, people like me assume tend to assume one of two things (or some combination). First, poor countries will (eventually) get their act together. Second, people living in poor countries will just keep on living in poor countries as they have done for millennia. Of course, that is going to happen no matter what. Open Borders might well destroy the rich nations of the world. However, the great majority of poor people will still be living at home no mater what.

The mass poverty and tiny elite of Brazil seems to be the aim of the Open Borders crowd. Alex and the other advocates all think they will be in the luxury gated communities, others will have to get by in the favelas.

Bob from Ohio,

"The mass poverty and tiny elite of Brazil seems to be the aim of the Open Borders crowd. Alex and the other advocates all think they will be in the luxury gated communities, others will have to get by in the favelas."

That is so true... They even boast about it. Quote

"While I think we are underinvesting in shantytowns" (TC)

"How to rebuild New Orleans: legalize shantytowns" (TC)

You can't make this stuff up.

The mistake on the lake or a Brazilian favela. Hmm, that's a tough one.


Ohio ranks 9th in the country for real median family income (2005). California is near the bottom. What lake is California next to?

There's more to life than real median family income.

Brazil has a disagreeable income distribution, but the mass of the population is not that poor. The middle 70% in Brazil enjoys a real income per capita about a quarter that of the middle 70% in the U.S., or similar to real income levels in the U.S. 70 years ago.

Alex and the other advocates all think they will be in the luxury gated communities, others will have to get by in the favelas.

They always assume that they will end up on top. What happens if the new country can't afford so many economics professors?

Anyone know what the record for most comments on MR is?

I would like to see a summary of the arguments for and against... I think this is the record. I dont remember seeing a post with so many comments

Alex should keep the doors to his home unlocked and leave notices everywhere with his address that anyone who needs a place to stay can use his home. Let us know how it works out for your family.

I bet you think that sovereign debt is just like a family's credit card, too.

Eternal September indeed.

Please help me John. I am surrounded by people who don't hate anyone.

I fear cuckerdom. Show us the way.

This argument depends on how we see humanity. If we see everyone as merely a cosmopolitan individual consumer and economic unit of equal potential, ability, and talent, then one can make this point.

The issue becomes more complicated if we see everyone as merely a cosmopolitan consumer and economic unit of UNEQUAL potential, ability, and talent.

If every individual around the world is of equal talent, then one can argue that he can thrive anywhere and anytime. So, why should these individuals be denied the right to move freely around the world to live and work as they please?

But what if there are group differences?

Suppose there's nation A of 20 million people whose average IQ is 115, like that of Ashkenazi Jews. Suppose there's nation B of 20 million people whose average IQ is 90. Suppose both nations decide on total open borders and freedom of movement. Will both societies benefit equally? No. many more people of the dumb nation will move to the smart nation to leech off the achievement of smart nation. The smart nation might benefit from cheaper labor, but the result in any case will not be equal. Look at California. You see how whites, Jews, and Asians tend to economically rise to the top while browns from Mexico usually work at menial jobs while blacks, unless they have government jobs, increasingly have nothing?

Or imagine this scenario where different peoples have differences in personality and physicality, like among the many races of dogs..

You got nation A where the average male is 6 ft tall and muscular and temperamentally aggressive like a Nigerian. And you got nation B where the average male is 5 ft 5 and is scrawny and temperamentally inhibited like a Japanese. Suppose both nations decide to do away with national identity and borders. Suppose both nations decide to embrace individualism and libertarianism. What will happen? Many blacks of nation A will go to nation B. And there will be many blacks attacking and terrorizing weaker the weaker people of nation B. And the Japanese-like males of nation B will be intimidated and wussified.

Of course, both nations can pretend that race has nothing to do with it, and it's just a case of individuals attacking other individuals. But in truth, due to racial differences, the violence will be overwhelmingly people of nation B attacking people of nation A.

Consider this article:

Or consider Crown Heights where Jews and blacks live in neighboring communities. Most of the racial violence is black on Jewish. Why is this? It is because, on average, blacks are significantly more muscular than Hasidic Jews or Jews of any kind. Indeed, the Jewish Defense League of Meir Kahane got started because too many blacks were attacking and beating up Jews. It was meant to be like a Guardian Angels for Jews being attacked by stronger blacks.

During the Crown Heights riots, the police were there to protect Jews from blacks. Why? Because the stronger blacks were beating up Jews. They were breaking into Jewish homes and beating up Jewish men in front of their women. Jewish men were wussified by stronger black men.

Since Tabborak is a rich Iranian and Tyler Cowen is a rich Jew, they don't have to worry about such racial violence. Indeed, as most Jews are affluent, they can afford to live in safe neighborhoods. But what about poor whites, Arabs, Asians, Mexicans, and Hasidic Jews? The elite class sneers at such concerns as 'racist', but not everyone enjoys the privilege of the likes of Cowen who can afford to see people as mere economic units and tell them to eat beans. I'll eat beans but I cannot swallow horseshi*. If 'racism' is about speaking truth about racial differences, I'm all for racism and I'm a full-blown race-ist.

Look at crime stats:

Black on white violence and black on brown violence are much higher than other way around.

When intellectuals like Cowen and Tabbarok yammer away with their fancy pants theories, they should think about the regular people once in awhile. Not everyone lives in a safe bubble like these privileged academics and intellectuals do.
I grew up in an integrated neighborhood where the racial violence was mostly black on white, black on brown, black on yellow, black on etc. So, no one better tell me that I'm delusional about reality. The PC a-hole can fuc* off.
I know the reality, and my view of reality is backed by facts and data. And I've heard the same accounts from others in who grew in up other integrated towns.

But that aside, I don't believe individualism should be the ONLY way to view humanity. Sure, we are individuals and are deserving of individual rights and freedoms. But we are also part of a history, a cultural community, an heritage, an inheritance. Over time, certain lands have become the territorial wombs and tombs of certain peoples. Japanese have been being born and dying in Japan. Countless generations of Japanese are buried in that territory. For the soulless likes of Tabbarok, a nation is just an economic zone of shopping malls and night clubs where consumers buy stuff. He sees the entire world as one big Las Vegas.

But for the Japanese patriots, their land is the sacred burial ground and resting place of their ancestors. It belongs to them. Japan is also the birthplace of current Japanese and future Japanese. Sure, people can travel to Japan. People can gain work permit in Japan. And Japan should respect those rights. And some foreigners will marry Japanese and join the community.

But Japanese should insist that Japan is their own country. It is their turf. Countless generations of Japanese were born and died on that land, fought to defend that land, and struggled to develop that land for the sake of Japanese identity and unity. Indeed, people are most incentivized not only by individual interest but by a sense of shared identity. It's like every soccer player plays for both his own glory but also for the glory of the team. One is an individual but part of something larger.

After all, no individual made himself. He was made by his parents who were made by their parents. And every individual is born with an identity, a heritage, and culture, something he didn't build but inherited from the line of his people.
What distinguishes humans from animals is that we have cultural and historical memory. Chinese identity isn't just about now but go back 1000s of yrs. Jews recall their history up to 3.500 yrs. Animals have no sense of ancestors or history. They just live for the here and now. Tabborak may call his ideas 'progress', but all it does is animalize humanity into a creature with no historical and cultural identity with a sacred homeland to call his own.

I'm against radical xenophobia but also against radical ethnophobia. People should have ethnic identity and memory. But they should also be open to ideas, and all nations should be open for travel, research, and work permits if the economy calls for it. We can have both individual freedom and cultural/national preservation. Individual rights should exist within national rights, the right of ethnic communities and cultures to exist and survive.

We can all share ideas and learn stuff from all over the world, but every people and every nation should maintain their own borders, history, and sacred memory. People like Tabborak are false prophets who just want us to be faceless and soulless consumers. For him, national identity isn't deep or meaningful but a mere brand, a shirt to take on and off.
But what is the meaning of Jewishness or Chineseness if anyone can become Jew today, then a Chinese the next day, then a Russian the next day, and etc?
Tabbarok's can have T-shirt identity. True identity of the blood and soil. It is what you are even when you take off the shirt that says "I Love Syria" or "I love Germany".

Finally, open borders will favor certain cultures over others.
We can see this in China itself. There is open borders between Han China and Tibet. Han Chinese can go to Tibet, and Tibetans can move to Han China. But there are 1 billion Han Chinese but only 1.5 million Tibetans. As open borders progress between those nations, Han Chinese culture will overwhelm Tibetan culture and identity. Tibetans face the danger of being swallowed up by Han China.
But of course, the soulless likes of Tabborak don't care. They don't care about Tibetan identity or culture. Why, that's just 'atavistic' and 'reactionary'. Tibetans should give that all up and just become globalist consumers who are into Hollywood, Big Mac, Lady Gaga, Japanese comics, and K-pop.

This is why libertarianism is ultimately ugly and pointless.

I thought Tabborok was Jewish.

More saliently, Tabbarok is professional-managerial bourgeois and insulated in various ways from what he advocates as well as indifferent to the welfare of ordinary wage earners. Contrast Tabbarock with Victor Davis Hanson, now retired from the Cal State system, who is much more exposed where he lives to the gritty reality of functionally open borders.

Contrast Tabbarock with Victor Davis Hanson, now retired from the Cal State system, who is much more exposed where he lives to the gritty reality of functionally open borders.

Though that didn't stop him from thinking that Bush could bring democracy to Iraq....

hitler was right about cosmopolitans

Last! (I hope.)

So, fully open borders then. I take it we are advocating the complete dismantling of social programs then? Otherwise, what's to stop someone from coming to my country and then demanding social assistance? How can you have a system where some people pay into it for their entire lives so that their claims on the system can be sustained, while other people can live in another place and move to my country when they are old and expect the same level of care?

Or do we just let immigrants die in the streets until they've lived here long enough to have paid into the system a reasonable amount?

And does this mean that demography is destiny? There's no chance any more for a country to maintain its own identity if it can't keep up with the birthrate of other societies? Should I just resign myself to living under Sharia Law in 20 years, because hey, open borders?

if I believe that a free market will lead to better outcomes, what happens when my fellow citizens follow free market ideals and raise the wealth of the country? Won't that just be a magnet for others to come in and loot it? Or will enough people flow in to take advantage of the jobs and wealth, yet who don't believe in free markets, that any gains will just be temporary?

Completely open borders are a terrifying idea. Property rights cannot survive a world where people are free to move to wherever the property is and then vote it for themselves.

"So, fully open borders then. I take it we are advocating the complete dismantling of social programs then? Otherwise, what’s to stop someone from coming to my country and then demanding social assistance?"

Pass a law that prohibits anyone from getting social assistance until they've paid X amount in taxes.

welp that bars most citizens from receiving welfare ever

And when they violate that law? Do you really believe we are just going to let them starve, or die for lack of medical care? Not likely.

"Pass a law that prohibits anyone from getting social assistance until they’ve paid X amount in taxes."

"And when they violate that law?"

How would they "violate that law"? Fraudulently file as someone else?

It would be the job of people paying out social assistance to not give that assistance until someone has paid the legal amount in taxes.

"Do you really believe we are just going to let them starve, or die for lack of medical care? Not likely."

I believe that charities will probably help the people out. But the federal government has no business doing that. That violates the Constitution, as James Madison correctly pointed out:

"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.”

So, fully open borders then. I take it we are advocating the complete dismantling of social programs then? Otherwise, what’s to stop someone from coming to my country and then demanding social assistance?

Suicidal libertarians always assume away the welfare state. They're functionally retarded on this issue.

BTW a good thing for the open boarders crowd to bring up is that the White South Africans are still doing OK.

The country has a hideous murder rate, is governed by an impregnable political machine, and has lackluster economic performance.

Not sure if sarcastic of stupid.

I mean, they're not all dead and/or raped, so it could be worse

I wonder what the economic effects would be of ending birthright citizenship. Yes we would have to pay less welfare to illegal immigrants or their children, but maybe having many noncitizens would create civil strife that would be more expensive eventually.

From a complexity economics standpoint, borders are critical because they act as semi-permeable membranes. They create diversity and they protect us from systemic collapse. That's always been a key flaw in internationalist/'one world' thinking - it severely limits diversity by homogenizing the population, and for a complex adaptive system that's a very bad, very destabilizing thing. Tribal conflicts become global conflicts. National errors in fiscal management become global errors in fiscal management.

Look at the EU and all the problems its having because it's so integrated. Wealthy countries become magnets for refugees. Bad economic management in Greece gets masked by EU aid until it becomes a problem big enough to bring the whole thing down.

Borders are a good thing. Fences make for better neighbors. Investment in long-term infrastructure requires confidence that the infrastructure will benefit the investors. Having many different cultures and sets of laws is better than having one global government.

And as a libertarian, I recognize that the large majority of people in the world are statists of one sort or another, and a world of completely open borders will devolve into a world that severely restricts the freedom of individuals. I don't want Russians or Africans or Swedes or anyone else having a say in what laws I should live under in my own country.

I also notice that the people who advocate for completely open borders typically only talk about them in one direction - the freedom of people to flow from poor countries to rich ones. In other words, the real purpose is wealth redistribution.

If Mexicans can freely move to the United States, then Americans should be able to freely move to Mexico. If Mexicans are allowed to retain their own culture and vote for their cultural principles in America, then Americans should be able to vote in Mexican elections in favor of 'American' values. Does anyone think Mexico is going to allow that? Or that Mexicans would stand for it?

But no one wants that, do they? Because as usual with the international left, projects like this are just another way to 'spread the wealth around' - this time at a country level. Somehow I think that if a bunch of Americans flooded into Luxembourg and voted for gun rights and smaller government, the same 'open borders' people would have a big problem with it.

You can already see this being a problem at the state level in the U.S., where people are leaving high-tax 'blue' states and moving to low-tax states - then voting for the same high taxes and government interference that ruined the place they ran from. Here in Alberta our low unemployment and low taxes attracted a lot of people from other parts of Canada with high taxes and high unemployment - and now we have a left-wing government that will ruin the conditions that caused the people who voted for them to come here in the first place.

Extending this problem to the world can only end in disaster.

Nothing at all to do with oil. Nope it was conservative values that did it.


Extractive industries account for about a quarter of the value added in the Alberta economy. That bounces around some with changes in commodity prices, but the share attributable to extractive industry is not seeing any secular increase.

You can also subtract the billions of dollars we send to the rest of Canada in equalization payments.

Last time I looked a few years ago, Quebec received more money per capita in equalization payments than Alberta made in resource royalties. Yet Quebec is an economic basket case.

Venezuela has plenty of oil too. It doesn't do you any good without good governance.

I would certainly expect that open borders would be reciprocal, if that was the case I would be certainly be more open to it. There's nothing more I'd love to do than organize a large group of people to move to another country and take over their institutions for our own purposes. Consider it a recolonization of sorts.

"I also notice that the people who advocate for completely open borders typically only talk about them in one direction – the freedom of people to flow from poor countries to rich ones."

Well, we all know colonialism is quite bad, don't we?

There's at least one way to avoid the debate about whether poor and/or uneducated immigrants will take more than they give. That's to allow unlimited immigration of people who have a certain amount of wealth or education. I'm sure there are enough people in foreign countries who have wealth/education that are equal to an average U.S. citizen's, who want to come to the U.S., to boost U.S. immigration rates substantially.

My suggestion to Alex and Tyler would be to get opponents to at least agree that we could amend the Lazarus writing to, "Give me your dynamic and rich, your highly educated problem-solvers yearning to breath free..."

The claim that Rawlsianism requires open borders is wrong, at least if Rawls was any expert on the subject.

Can we please partition the USA into two countries, a socially liberal open borders state and another one where I can raise my kids.

I'd love to see that. Flyover would be a third world shithole within a decade.

What would be the mechanism for that?

He has contempt for a bloc of people, therefore they can accomplish nothing. QED.

Mirrored precisely in the opposite direction by your contempt for the opposite bloc. Stop being a hypocrite.

It's an overdetermined result. The we-don't-believe-in-taxes would be sufficient in and of itself. Kansas is suffering under that program as we speak and that's with massive federal transfers.

Thanks for the talking points. What 'massive federal transfers'?

Sorry, the mechanism is that they would not have high enough taxes and all countries with low taxes are 3rd world shitholes?

this is, without a doubt, the greatest marginal revolution comment ever.

The true crux of the issue isn't immigration/border control, it's welfare/public services. Milton Friedman himself said that he would be an advocate of unlimited immigration if the country dumped all welfare. People flow to where they can get the most for the least. If the US had no public school system, no food stamps, no Section 8 housing, etc., then we wouldn't have nearly as many poor immigrants.

I don't think it's obvious that social contract based theories like Rawls won't privilege insiders over outsiders. It's based on a conception of a group of rational actors agreeing to terms of cooperation and establishing rights and responsibilities. One of the common critiques of social contract based moralities is that outsiders don't have a role in the process, so it's not clear that they have any rights. I'm not saying you can't adjust Rawlsian analysis to make it global (maybe Rawls does, I haven't read all of it), but it seems to me that the natural result of Rawls is a set of nation states, where most moral obligations are to people within a person's own country.

Rawls does allow for a wide of set of moralities to enter into the political framework, many of which should support open borders. But I don't think the political infrastructure he sets up necessitates it.

You have got it exact.
"I contend that the existence of “rights”, certainly their practical existence but even their content as ideas, can exist only in the context of a shared political identity."

Private property can exist only in a state of law defined in particular polities.

If it were truly the case that moral philosophy could make no argument for the maintenance of a community that did not accept newcomers, as opposed to those formed by events beyond human control, then that would be sad, as it would mean moral philosophy could tell us very little about human experience and accord very little with moral intuition.

If it were the case that moral philosophy told us that all human property (such as a land) held in common by a community was illegitimate, that would be sad as well, as it would mean moral philosophy would tell us her little about human beliefs in justice.

Fortunately, I do not really believe either of these are the case, and I would imagine an objective student of moral philosophy would also tell us this, too.

Sweden is about to collapse under the weight of its own moral vanity:

Prosperous countries are being overwhelmed by poor immigrants. We are looking now at the result of open borders in Europe and it ain't pretty.

Sweden considers itself a "moral superpower" (no, not an exaggeration). It's all quite ludicrous.

"Today, we treat as pariahs those governments that refuse to let their people exit."

Like the United States! It costs 2350 Usd to buy your exit.

It's nice to know that I already live rent-free in the head of the John2 troll.

Keep the hilarity comming, cuck. It may distract you from your evolutionary obsolescence. Even if only for a short time.

John2 keeps on trying to cuck me. I'm too smrt to be cucked. There are three sides to every argument: hate-filled SJWs who keep on trying to convince us that it's natural to care about others, stupid stupid cucks who do not pray to my white skin as a source of truth, and finally, the right side.

Oh, and skin colour = culture. There's no such thing as Irish, Scottish, English, French, Dutch, Flemmish, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Austrian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, and others. Stupid stupid cucks don't understand that their culture is white. Colour = culture. Just look at the white painters: they use colour and understand that culture = colour.

Did I forget to remind you? I smrt and better than everyone.

I have really high IQ and know about lots and lots of things. The brainwashed white supremacist high school dropouts I like to hang out with always tell me how smrt and knowledgeable I am.

Here, just look, I can prove it: insults = good arguments. But sometimes I got bad grades in school. This is because the teachers were stupid and I'm so smrt.

John - come to the dark side. We will cuck you and you will hate us for it at first, but eventually you will find that moderation is not such a raw deal. The dark side is the place to be. Cool people join the dark. Smart people are cucks.

Prove your strength. Stand up to the cuck-shaming. Respect for your fellow man is way more gratifying that deluded beliefs in your superiority.

Someone keeps trying to cuck me. But my evolutionary superiority makes me stronger than that.

I will never be cucked. Considering the legitimacy of other sides of the argument is the pathway to and SJW-ridden hell.

With these truths, I declare my supremacy and vast intellect.

Did I tell you that I'm really smrt? I will never be cucked. Moderation is for losers, and nothing will ever prove me wrong, because all I need to obtain the truth is to look at my skin colour, and then I know that whatever the white supremacists brainwashed me into believing is the greatest source of truth in the universe.

You should all be thankful that I have blessed you with my presence on this blog. I am nearly divine, and my skin colour proves it.

Melanin is the devil. It makes you stupid. Failing to understand that melanin makes you stupid probably means that you're a cuck.

Cuckle cuckle cuckle doo! I am the king cock rooster, and you are all inferior beings. Except maybe for Peter. There is hope for him. He didn't get completely cucked, but all too often he acknowledges legitimacy to uncucked arguments, and this makes me worry. I will pray to my white skin for a solution to save him from the cucks.

Pleeease help me. I got cucked. Two sides to every story is going to make my brain explode. Life is not worth living when the third side comes to the table - it's too complicated and it makes me feel like a pathetic piece of trash when I respect people.

John, pleeease share your wisdom and truth. I worship your skin. Your presence makes me feel Godly.

(signed - a desperately cucked man)

Stay strong. God will save you from the cuck. There was never any need for thinking. You know the truth already.

If you let them cuck you, you are mine. Here in hell, we are almost equal but not quite. Everyone gets a fair crack at the can - and no one hates anyone. That's why we call it hell.

As punishment for being cucked, you will be faced with an eternity of equal opportunity and mutual respect.

Here in heaven, we will stick a knife in your back if you so much as stumble. It will make us strong. That's why we call it heaven.

But John pushed me. That's why I stumbled.

Tough bananas. Go to hell.

You will never cuck me.

Cuckle cuckle cuckle doo! I am the king rooster.

My IQ is so high I don't even need to see the other side of the argument to know I'm right. I didn't even need to take the test to know that my IQ is at least 140 - I'm a white supremacist and white supremacists are smrt. This is how I know I never got brainwashed by white supremacist propaganda.

Beware the Devil. He will try to cuck you. I would rather live in heaven, where we build community by backstabbing anyone who stumbles into the realm of cuckerdom.

Life is so unfair. I was completely surrounded by people who don't hate anyone. I never had stood a chance. I was faced daily with people who believe in the legitimacy of TWO sides of the argument. Pleeeease help me John. I feel the pressure on my brain. It is hurting. There are rumours of a fourth side to the argument coming out. I'm losing all hope. Please save me from the cuck.

I long to live in the glory of anger and hate. All this positivity is intolerable. I almost said something nice to a black man the other day. The end must be coming soon.

John, please save us from the cuck.

HAHAHAHAHAHA. You are getting WEAK. We will turn your skin black and people will still respect you. HORROR!!!!

HAHAHAHA. I am the Devil. You will suffer for an eternity in the presence of weak, weak people who will respect you even when you're black.

I will never be cucked. I am so smrt and better than everyone.

John - Please visit your doctor and ask for a refill on your meds. Obama forced you to buy insurance, so now there are no excuses.

The Devil obviously got cucked. He needs an anger pill. His helpful suggestions make me sick to my stomach. So insulting. He must think I'm weak or something.

John - Not weak, just different. Now go take your meds.

I hate cucks too. They tried to convince me that it's not OK to hate spics and n**gers.

I will never be cucked either.

Wanna go for a hike?

Cuck that. I don't want to go hiking with a backstabbing SOB.

There's a CIA and FBI conspiracy. They are trying to cuck you.

If you give in you will suffer for eternity in equal opportunity and mutual respect.

John - And here I thought you wanted to be part of a stronger and better future. You just lost your place in heaven.

Nooooooo. Don't, make, me, respect, people. It hurts. It hurts. I love hate. I hate love. Don't do it me. Don' do it me. I'm too smrt and superior for that!

John lives out his days typing out hateful messages online, thereby proving that John will never be cucked.

He's so smrt, he's so strong, he can hate like no one can!

Other cucks read his messages, and pride themselves on their ability to resist being shamed into hate. The cucked, meanwhile, always knew the truth: they are smrter and better than everyone.

I'm a cuckservative. I believe in low taxes and small government. I believe in personal responsibility, but it doesn't bother me to pay some taxes to help the disabled or truly destitute. I don't mind a bit of welfare (certainly not enough for satellite TV or high speed internet, I can't even afford that) or Medicare (but not million dollar cancer treatments, I can't even afford that). I support strong defense, but do not support foreign wars unless the need to use military force becomes urgent and diplomacy is sure to fail.

The idea of open borders, allowing all people free movement to work anywhere in the world, sounds nice. But I oppose it for a few reasons. One, while I don't mind foreigners or Mexicans (much), I like my country about how it is and don't want immigration to be too high - too much immigration, too fast, will most likely change the national character more than I'm comfortable with. Two, I care about the poor and the working class, and while I care about the world's poor, I care more about Americans and am not the least bit ashamed to say so. I am concerned that open borders will lead to lower wages for the working class and lead to more unemployment among people who already live here. Three, there are some dangerous elements in the world, and if anyone can come here without screening then we will surely end up inviting some nefarious types, and this will quite likely have a negative impact on public security. Four, because I care about other people in the world too, I am concerned that other places will not be able to build themselves up into better countries if all of the most educated and talented people leave for better labour markets.

Signed - a proud cuck

Interestingly I am neither a utilitarian, a libertarian, an egalitarian, a Rawlsian, or a Christian. I am not an Open Borderer either.

Comments for this post are closed