Bryan Caplan *Open Borders* launch day

From Bryan:

Dear friends: Monday, April 8 isn’t just my birthday.  It’s also the official launch date for *Open Borders*!

URL for ordering the book:

URL for an introductory post on the book:


And in the world of non-fiction that is not in the form of a graphic novel (and one can marvel at someone writing a non-fiction novel), it appears that the UK will reject being part of the current largest project involving open borders, at least among its members.

Though considering just how many Brexiters seem to have a comic book view of the world, maybe this is the proper way to try reaching them. Like the original Brexit secretary David Davis on May 16, 2016 - 'The first calling point of the UK's negotiator immediately after #Brexit will not be Brussels, it will be Berlin, to strike a deal.'

Is the author advocating that I can walk into Mexico and act like a citizen? How about France? I always wanted to live in Paris. Maybe New Zealand, they restrict immigration to their beautiful country, I can see 500 million people living there and turning the beautiful country into another shithole country. This is such a cool idea.

To some extent, we already have open borders:

It takes quite a while before an immigrant can "act like a citizen," which implies participation in political life and somewhat expanded protections.

Participation in economic life ought to be immediate.

You mean, I get to go into another country and immediately collect something? ID, asylum, benefits, welfare? Or what?

'It takes quite a while before an immigrant can "act like a citizen," which implies participation in political life and somewhat expanded protections. '

Not in the EU - EU citizens have essentially the same rights throughout the EU (about the only exception is that they cannot participate as non-citizens in a country's national elections), and the same protections. And participation in economic life is essentially instant.

Of course, the UK has decided to reject this arrangement.

What rights then does a citizen have where just anyone can enter the country, stay, share the wealth, force your taxes to increase to support the new "citizens" and then once they outnumber you they vote themselves your assets. I think what is being advocated here is not "open borders" but open warfare. I think that in most of the Western countries that are now being invaded by foreigners that some form of civil war or revolution has no been made inevitable.

IMHO there is only one way to stop it and that is to end all immigration immediately and to begin to return all recent "immigrants" legal and illegal to their home country.

Suspecting that the various governments don't have the guts to do what it takes to save them IMHO the second best advice is to start stocking up on guns because they will be coming for your assets and then you soon.

Finally someone with a reasonable, accurate, and not-at-all hysterically paranoid comment here.

There's no denying he's right.

I know, that's what I said!

Liberty is best enjoyed with a small amount of caution, not an overdose of paranoia. Besides, minimizing government restriction of movement is absolutely pro-freedom. The same way I'm fine with weirdos like you owning guns is the same reason I'm fine with open borders. Most people will do the right thing.

A citizen should have the same rights as non-citizens. The universal human right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness anywhere and everywhere habitable to man. Humans have been traversing this Earth for millennia and we all own a collective portion of it regardless of race, religion or political affiliation. Today's "closed border" proponents exhibit the same bigotry as yesteryear's slave owners and foot binders: denying their fellow human beings rights to which we all deserve. Turning away desperate migrants on the basis of some poorly construed "national law" is our global 21st century Holocaust.

"Today's "closed border" proponents exhibit the same bigotry as yesteryear's slave owners and foot binders"

Seriously, you must be a child. Your comment is incredibly naive. Do you understand the concept of private property and nations? Do you lock your doors in your home or apartment?

>> "Do you understand the concept of private property and nations? "
you clearly don't since those two aren't even in the same league.

In principle, they're identical.

They are not identical. Private property is an economic right, whereas citizenship is a political right.

I have a right to lock my doors at night because I own my property; similarly, Disneyland has a right to turn away people who can't afford to pay the price of entry. The underlying system is the free market.

Do I (or my fellow citizens) have a right to lock my borders because I "own" my country? Closed border advocates and other conservatives rationalize that the answer is yes and they often have the law on their side, but is it just? Or is it just another form of barbaric discrimination that future generations will look back on with regret?

What is the underlying system that says "my people own this land delineated along these borders and we have a right to keep you out". It is sovereignty you say. But this is Jim Crow segregation along national lines. It is a denial of rights to people who share a common heritage, history, and humanity and deserve to be treated better. The underlying political system of a free and fair 21st century society should not be national sovereignty. It should be a global federalism that is inherently inclusive and treats each human being with dignity and equality before the law.

'What rights then does a citizen have where just anyone can enter the country, stay, share the wealth, force your taxes to increase to support the new "citizens" and then once they outnumber you they vote themselves your assets.'

Which of course does not describe how EU citizens can live anywhere in the EU.

'I think that in most of the Western countries that are now being invaded by foreigners that some form of civil war or revolution has no been made inevitable.'

Which again does not describe the EU, unless you think that Üoles living in Germany, or Germans living in Spain will lead to revolution or civil war. This being the MR comments section, undoubtedly somebody does, if not you.

Or Poles - who knows just how alien Üoles are.

I'm sure Hoda Muthana will be a big supporter of open borders to the US...

Hi Tyler,

Amazon has a function for affiliates to share globally-appropriate links. Thus, for me as a resident of the British Isles, I'd get redirected to Amazon UK (and equivalent for DE/FR/etc.) and you get the appropriate affiliate reward.

With the link you've shared, I get mistakenly sent to I then need to correct that to UK, which probably cuts your commission pay.

The Amazon affiliate link is Bryan Caplan's, but I am sure that someone here is able to tweak that across a number of web sites. However, the amount of money is likely not all that important, though every bit apparently counts - Conversations seemingly require donations, for example.

Well Germany conducted a limited 'open borders' policy in 2015 letting anyone who could say the word 'asylum'.... the results were so astounding that she tried to share this bounty with other countries.
Unfortunately some of them didn't want the trillion dollar bills and so Germany has been glorying in the results ever since....

'and so Germany has been glorying in the results ever since'

Strange how a woman representing a party of Christian Democrats attempted to act like a Christian. Might be bad politics, of course.

Then you add in the fact that the same Christian leader also grew up behind the Iron Curtain, and you just might understand why she said this to Orban in 2015 - 'Angela Merkel has launched a withering attack on eastern European leaders for failing to learn from their memories of life behind the Iron Curtain in their handling of the refugee crisis.

Calling upon her own experience of growing up in communist East Germany, Mrs Merkel criticised leaders including Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister, for building new fences in Europe despite having escaped their own isolation at the end of the Cold War.

“We eastern Europeans – I'm counting myself as an eastern European – have seen that isolation doesn't help,” the German chancellor told MEPs at a meeting on Wednesday.

“The refugees won't be stopped if we just build fences, and I've lived behind a fence for long enough,” Mrs Merkel said.'

Of course, now that the civil war in Syria seems pretty much over, the ebbing of the refugee flood is obvious - just like what happened with the break up of Yugoslavia. Almost as if there is a connection between brutal civil wars and people trying to flee them. Because in 2018, a total of 46,164 Syrians applied for asylum in Germany. The link is German language, from the German government agency in charge of such matters -

Dude, it was really stupid. I like Merkel, but she was insane with this refugee stunt in 2015.

Brexit was as much about what was to come as what happened already. And Merkel's stupidity in 2015 had a lot to do with that.

"Strange how a woman representing a party of Christian Democrats "

I was making an economic argument... which you completely ignored.... like all open borders enthusiasts...

Ah, well then, another argument also made by many was that Germany needs young people to handle demographic challenges.

However, I am not sure how by pointing out that accepting refugees from a civil war such as that in Yugoslavia or Syria is not generally an economic decision but a moral one makes someone an 'open borders enthusiast.'

With Mexico's average of IQ of 89 and the remainder of Latin American IQ significantly lower, it would be foolish for the United States to embrace 'Open Borders'. Bryan Caplan is a fool.

Caplan is the madman drilling holes in the bottom of the lifeboat. The more sober passengers deal with him first.

Indeed. It's Magic Dirt Monday.

My takeaway: Very clever people like Caplan can reach very stupid conclusions when their ideological blinkers are down. Intelligence is absolutely no defence against terrible error. Urgh.

Good. I hope Caplan ruined your day. Let the floodgates of immigration open up real wide!

The idea seems far fetched. We live in a time where poverty has been reduced around the world, with a huge global population and relative peace. Why risk that by throwing so much uncertainty in via open borders?

Open borders might not fell the United States, but it seems like it would be one among a succession of blows that would undermine it's stability. If this ultimately created a power vacuum it could raise the chances of World War 3. I don't think open borders would be worth that.

Further it seems like there are many other ways to reduce global poverty and help third world countries. Why is mass immigration the only one that seems openly discussed? Why are the obvious and numerous downfalls of mass third world immigration rarely discussed?

Finally, the description on the amazon website, "opening all borders could eliminate absolute poverty worldwide and usher in a booming worldwide economy―undeniably benefiting all of humanity." is the most wide-eyed utopian statement I can remember reading. It's the kind of thing that seems comically wrong on it's face, backed by hubris almost destined to implode on itself.

Open borders brings to memory restrictions to get out not to get in. The image I have is of the border between Nazi Germany or a Germany-controlled country and a bordering country, desperate Jews and others trying to get out of Germany or a Germany-controlled country. In the film Casablanca, the priceless "letters of transit" provided the pass with which to cross the border to get out. I have the image of countless movie scenes at the railroad crossing, German guards in their pressed dark uniforms suspiciously interrogating passengers while viewing their "letters of transit" and efficiently keeping them in and not letting them out. Or more recently, the border between East Berlin and West Berlin, the Berlin Wall intended to keep East Berliners in East Berlin not to keep West Berliners out. What's usually omitted from these scenes is the whether those wishing to cross the border to get out are welcome in on the other side of the border. Alas, not so much. I suppose it's ironic that the launch date for Caplan's book on Open Borders would coincide with the news of the departure of Kirstjen Nielsen, her sin being that she wasn't as efficient at keeping Mexicans out as the German soldiers were at keeping Jews and others in. I suppose one's view of Caplan's book is whether one longs to get in or to get out.

Do Boomers have a single historical reference point besides the European theater in World War 2? Now that the Jews have their own country, can I just wander in there any time I feel like it?

'Now that the Jews have their own country, can I just wander in there any time I feel like it?'

Well, assuming you are an American citizen, pretty much - 'For U.S. and Canadian citizens, all you need is a passport that’s valid at least six months longer than your date of arrival in Israel. (For stays up to three months, you don’t need a visa.) If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, the same conditions apply to citizens of most western countries, but just to be sure: click here.'

The same applies to basically the entire EU, as of today - just hop on an airliner, and show up with your valid American passport at Frankfurt, and you can wander as you wish for 3 months throughout the entire Schengen zone.

Of course, this does not mean they are required to let in you, merely that you are free to wander in, and likely you will face no hurdles at all, apart from having your passport stamped and whatever customs formalities may be required (one assumes the Israelis will be a bit more thorough in searching your luggage than the Germans in Frankfurt).

I'd like the border to open for a wee bit o' time in order to toss Bryan Caplan out. Just load him in a trebuchet in El Paso and send him sailing southward. And when he lands, some enterprising youts on the other side will say "A ver si tiene dinero en efectivo sobre él."

I find Caplan worth reading on pretty much every subject except immigration. Naturally, that's the one he won't shut up about.

I'd like to flip the switch on the launcher.

This is a real cheap shot... Caplan's position is that people are entitled to exclusive private property, but a nation is not entitled to exclude foreigners. That is a consistent ideology. A better charge of hypocrisy is the exclusivity of government owned universities. Caplan works at a government university GMU, and defends the right of universities to exclude students on whatever terms they want without owing anyone an explanation or justification.

No, if Caplan has no better reasoning than that - "A nation, I say, is a place that admits anyone and has no physical, tangible expression of its commitments" - I think the call for "Open Wallets" Day is appropriate, given that a universalizing, purportedly Christian worldview is often at the bottom of it, as per c_p above.

The Stare is owned by its citizens, who can set whatever restrictions they want on entry and membership.

Legally, yes the state is owned by its citizens. Caplan argues that is wrong and it shouldn't be owned by its citizens in the way that living people have rights to private property and private businesses and clubs have right to exclusive membership. That is valid to argue and it deserves a quality response. As I said, it doesn't seem consistent to give government universities full right of exclusion and private property. That also sounds like government privilege and protections for me but not for thee. And, yes, I've read "Case Against Education", Caplan has high profile criticisms of universities, but he does fundamentally endorse their right to exclude, and their nature as exclusive social institutions that can set whatever terms or restrictions they want without owing anyone else an explanation or justification.

Not in Caplan's world. There the protests of the Parish council are just an unwelcome obstacle to the Squire's plan to graze more of his imported goats on common land.

Seriously though, yeah, you'd think a libertarian would understand a partnership agreement under freedom of association as the philosophical underpinning of the liberal State. Caplan is almost autistic here; immigration is all welfare-maximising in what is almost a utilitarian parody of his supposed libertarian beliefs.

I've read Caplan's arguments on immigration quite a bit. I would pass his "ideological turing test" in that I could convincingly represent his viewpont in a favorable light. I'm not stubborn, Caplan has changed my mind on many issues. From a free market perspective, everyone should be encouraged to join and participate in the free market.

Where I'm not convinced, is outside of the free market frame of reference, where you have a nation and competing voting blocks, and particularly on the "identity" issues. Caplan and generally avoid those subjects, which is probably more effective in terms of evangelization, but I see that as a red flag.

I'd request Caplan and other open border proponents debate or engage with the author of the book Whiteshift, Eric Kaufmann. He seems an intelligent, well spoken, highly reasonable, rational, opponent on this issue.

Open Borders in the West is good for the Jews because they can compete with just about anybody and more diversity=no dominant ethnic group that can threaten them. Open Borders in Israel is bad for obvious reasons.

Is it good for the Jews? This question has very good predictive power on which positions elite Jews will take.

+1 for that. Plus ideological Turing test.

What triggers my aversion is that Caplan is indeed mute against large areas of criticism, using an over-simplified model of the world. "Look - utilitarian gains from trade and a free productivity bonus!"

He treats citizenship as a non-rivalrous good, when it clearly isn't. He doesn't deal with national identity and social capital (Don't measure it = not important!). He doesn't deal with the dispersal of existing citizen natural resource capital and crowding of the commons. He doesn't deal with the security problem. He hand-waves away the labour-market effects for existing citizens....etc.

Caplan should approach citizenship as a partnership; where the creation of new partners requires the clear consent of current ones according to agree procedure. Instead we have a tragedy of the commons where elites race to graze more pet immigrants on common land...

On "labour-market effects for existing citizens", the open border crowd has genuinely convinced me 99%. If a foreigner out competes a citizen, the free market should react accordingly. It's fair, positive-sum interaction, but yes there are individual losers. We see similar results with expanded free trade and technical innovation and change. I have one reservation, that at least, while we have governments and nations, governments have more of an obligation to serve the needs of existing citizens than those of foreigners. I'm also sympathetic with Caplan's arguments that we shouldn't have governments and nations.

Oh the immigrant worker is positive sum, alright, at least in the short term. I'll give the open borders crowd that.

But so what? That's a utilitarian reason, not a libertarian one.

The native HAS NO OBLIGATION to screw his own market position by admitting competition for his job. The native is ENTIRELY ENTITLED to vote accordingly to keep competition out. Libertarianism isn't concerned with maximising social value, it's about observing individual rights.

No need for caps. I personally agree; if citizens see larger levels of immigration as a negative to their interests, they should vote for restriction. Especially in the status quo system where citizens don't have any moral obligation to give foreigners the right to immigrate and join the nation as equals. I'm personally more sympathetic to the political and identity arguments than economic arguments. Many immigrants themselves care deeply about their ethnic, cultural, religious, and linguistic identities. It seems unreasonable to expect citizens to not care.

Observing individual rights....of all individuals, correct? When others collude to prevent an individual from maximizing his or her own well-being, as in preventing that individual from moving to where they can best ensure their safety and their human capital, how is that libertarian? The libertarian case for open borders is just that.

Just because you have a job, doesn't give you the right to prevent competition for that job from other individuals. You are putting national borders above libertarian principles.

Even Caplan and Huemer fully support private property. That denies people the right to just move to property legally owned by others to improve their well-being. They also support property owned by collective groups of people, such as corporations that "collude" to benefit members and not outsiders.

There are valid libertarian arguments for immigration restriction. Murray Rothbard is one such notable advocate. Rothbard is a pioneering advocate of anarcho-capitalism, but he advocates that while we have nation states, their first and foremost right is to limit membership and privilege the interests of members over outsiders.

". They also support property owned by collective groups of people, such as corporations that "collude" to benefit members and not outsiders."

This. The game is not to maximise social welfare, but group welfare. So long as the group exercises fidelity to it's members in internal process they may collectively discriminate against outsiders.

So if the group decides to raise taxes to levels odious to most libertarians, exercising fidelity to their internal process to decide these things, that's just fine with you? How about if the group decides to outlaw gun ownership through the same process?

Of course you could leave, but then you become the immigrant who may not be welcome elsewhere.

You give a hypothetical scenario: what if my nation collectively decides to enact horrific laws. You ask if that would be "fine with me". Well, obviously not. No, I don't want terrible laws in the nation of my ancestors. It could happen anyway, whether I like it or not.

To paraphrase a famous quote, "democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried". I'd agree with that and I imagine most others here would. I suspect Caplan and Cowen would too.

Oh, go read Nozick; Yes, But. It's reasonable to have you know the basics of this class of argument.

And don't sign yourself up to despotic constitutions alongside Knaves whilst your are at it.

Apart from that, your objection is not relevant to particulars of the thought experiment as well as being a distraction fallacy. Do you play the trolley problem in a likewise obtuse manner? "Hey, what if throw high explosives on the track - would that make both choices bad?!?"

This is completely backwards. Keeping competition out is exactly the opposite of libertarianism and free markets.

And you've failed to notice that libertarianism is fine with natural monopoly and monopsony, so long as no coercion is involved. Even market manipulation to defend monopoly can be legitimate.

Despite a LOT of overlap, libertarianism and free markets are not identical things.

You failed to notice that restricting the free movement of people who are just minding their own business by government agents is very definition of coercion. Libertarians should not be for that.


Your position is almost a parody of "careless libertarian". You clearly haven't understood the counter-argument or even the main terms. Let me do it slowly, to make the illegal immigration NAP violation clear.

Citizenship/Residence is a GOOD which people desire. It is a RIVALROUS good at the margin (self-evidently, for it comes with many POLTICAL RIGHTS, including being defended). The stock of Citizenship good is JOINTLY OWNED and managed by existing citizens (in the same way the army is, or national parks, or national debt, or a legal partnership). Unless you are a complete anarcho-libertarian, you are fine with jointly owned property like this. You should be fine with the partnership model even as an anarcho libertarian.

Illegal immigration/residence acquires (by fraud) ownership of the good of citizenship without permission of the owner(s).

The illegal immigrant has (wilfully) acquired a good through fraud at the expense of existing citizens.

Ergo, the NAP has been violated by the illegal immigrant.

This should not be difficult for the average libertarian. Economics 101 and Philosophy 201.

"This should not be difficult ..."

Never underestimate the power of denial.

"Keeping competition out" is the essence of property.

That's the essence of rent-seeking. Your job is not your property, it's an agreement, a transaction. Both parties to it can move on if they find something better.

Nationalism is the answer...

What does Caplan think about a country organized as a land trust for its citizen shareholder owners and restricting immigration that way? In that case, borders would be aligned with the private property rights of citizens, so presumably he wouldn't have a problem with it.

I'd imagine the devil is in the details. In one telling of this story, the shareholders could be protecting their investment in an economically sound and feasible way. In another telling of it, they're just monopsonists abusing their market power and creating deadweight loss by under-utilizing land resources.

Isn't that up to them?

If it's a free market decision, then the market will allocate resources in the most efficient way, however that shakes out. If it turns out that excluding foreigners is really, really, really economically valuable to the existing owners, then that's how it'll be. Otherwise, resources will reallocate toward a better equilibrium.

But if you're arguing that people have a right to become monoposonists and abuse market power, I'd say no, although I think they ought to be allowed to try, so long as they don't get help from the state.

Don't assume that the Social Optimum is the Market optimum here.

A country with 2 low-value workers and 1 high-value worker may legitimately vote (2:1) to exclude an additional low-value worker. The low value workers reason (correctly) that it will depress their wages, to the benefit mostly of the high value worker, who know can contract cheaper help. The payoffs look like (-1,+1,+2) for low value, the high-value, and the immigrant respectively for net sum of +1. But the low value workers vote down the application anyway.

Are they wrong to do so?

I don’t know what a “social optimum” is. The very notion presupposes someone whose values get to dictate what is optimal in “society.” I don’t buy into that kind of thinking.

People may vote as they please, but in the marketplace, low-value workers have low-value votes, and I see no reason why their votes should count more than they do.

RE: Social Optimum. It's Caplan's utilitarian argument in a nutshell. He's trying to maximise overall utility for all actors.

The low-value voters presumably have the same vote as everyone else. Yes, they may be out-voted by high-value workers in favour of immigrants, but the point is their voting cartel against immigrant labour isn't unethical from a Free Market POV.

I have zero problems with this state-as-partnership model. Why could such a state with impeccable libertarian credentials not have the restrictions on immigration they choose?

But I've never seen Caplan address it.

Because, as I said above, you are putting the state above the interests of individuals, which is fine but it's not very libertarian.

No, I'm not putting the interests of the state anywhere.

Here; a community of N people group together voluntarily claim unoccupied land and sign a constitution. They announce themselves citizens of the New State.

With me so far? Good.

The constitution says "no new citizens(residents) without 75% approval of current citizens". The next day, without further ado, Mister x invites two dozen Mexicans to live on his lawn and cut the grass for $/day. X is pleased at his bold free marketering. Do the other citizens have a claim against x?

I don't know why this is difficult for people. Didn't you all read Anarchy, State, and Utopia in your teens?

Your hypothetical makes sense, but like most libertarian (and communist) principles, it's just a hypothetical. That's not what any constitution says, and definitely not the ones for the countries we are discussing.

Are you saying there is no such thing as natural rights, above what the state and its constitution allows? If that same document you describe also said "no citizens can say anything bad about the president, and no one can have any guns" and so on, is that ok because the community of N decided those were not inalienable rights?

Precisely speaking; Citizenship is a Good consisting of bundled Political Rights. It is definitely NOT a Natural Right. It cannot exist or be defended in nature apart from a political community.

The "despotic constitution" validity depends on your view of natural rights as inalienable or not. YMMV. 13th, anyone?

The advantage of a hypothetical is to make people think clearly about their terms and logic.

Here; a community of N people group together voluntarily claim unoccupied land and sign a constitution.

Your hypothetical is evidently located on the Antarctic continent.

They build a sea stead, or sublet with an extant state's permission. It's not an important part of the thought experiment.

I'm not sure why anybody thinks the State isn't owned by its citizens. That's supposedly the whole premise behind democratic government. If it's not, then we should be able to stop paying taxes and start our own States.

Caplan lives in a neighborhood with a $400,000 entry fee. "Open Borders" look fine from that perspective. He actually brags about living in an academic Bubble and only interacting with his professional and intellectual cohort.

That was to Anon #25.

+10 to that. The state is a partnership of its own citizens or it is nothing (justifiable).

A libertarian like Caplan should understand foundational political philosophy like that!

"L'estat, c'est Nous, ou rien"

You make this point a lot, but I'm curious how much time you invest per week interacting with immigrants. My number is fairly high: 1-2 hours almost every day of the week. What's your number?

This is a ad hominem cheap shot. So is Anti-Gnostic's remarks about Caplan's home price.

This discussion/debate should be about general concepts and ideas and not about the individuals making the arguments. FWIW, I live in a high immigrant city, I interact with immigrants quite frequently in both work, and social, and neighborhood settings. I like lots of immigrants. Yet, I don't support the open border ideology that enabled many of them to move near me.

Caplan does advocate exclusive "bubbles". My understanding is he argues against state sanctioned "bubbles" like nations but supports individual bubbles, like choosing an exclusive social circle and peer group. My one counter to this, is that universities are state sanctioned segregation. They confer benefit + privilege to members and impose costs on outsiders. I'm not directing this at Caplan merely because of his personal career, but ideologically, if you oppose state sanctioned segregation and privilege, that's what the university system is.

It's not a cheap shot. It's an answer to Anti-Gnostic's implicit suggestion that only people who are insulated from the effects of immigration support greater levels of immigration. I am not insulated in that way, and I am in favor of higher levels of human migration, so I'm one countervailing data point to that notion. If it turned out that A-G did not himself engage much with immigrants, then that would be a mark against his claims about the deleterious effects of immigration; after all, how would he know?

But it turns out that he has substantial interaction with the immigrant community, so all that is a moot point. It was worth pursuing, IMO, even though it turned out to be immaterial. Not every lede is.

I don't know what you mean when you say "the open border ideology that enabled many of them to move near you." Do you live in an open borders location? If not, why do you say that the reason you live near immigrants is an "open borders ideology?" I would presume that most immigrants do so for practical reasons, not ideological ones, and that most immigration policies are restrictions, not permissions. Would you disagree?

No, I don't live in an officially "open borders" location, but I live in a US city that has received very large numbers of immigrants.

Of course immigrants individually move for practical reasons, not ideological ones. Immigration policies can be either restrictive or permissive.

When I wrote, "the open border ideology that enabled many of them to move near me", I'm mean that ideologically pro-immigration activists, lawyers, and politicians enabled more foreigners to the city that I live in, than otherwise would have happened. I'm surprised that sentence wasn't clear.

So, just to close the loop on that, you said:

I like lots of immigrants. Yet, I don't support the open border ideology that enabled many of them to move near me.

With your additional clarification, it appears that this means:

I like lots of immigrants. Yet, I don't support the ideologically pro-immigration activists, lawyers, and politicians that enabled many of them to move near me.

You like something, but you don't support the institutional parties that made your exposure to something possible. That's a clear enough statement, but does not seem particularly sensible to me. I usually support the factors that give me more of what I like. That's my prior.

You literally quoted me three times on this. I'm trying to write as clearly and succinctly as I can. I'm not trying to trick you, or say things I don't mean, or deny what I just said.

Yes, I oppose the political moves that got many immigrants into the US whom I personally like. This sounds counter-intuitive? Consider this: I love myself and my children. I don't think we necessarily deserve rights to move to any other nation of our choice and expect full membership and equal rights. I have a close family member who attempted to immigrate to Canada and was denied. I still love that family member but I don't think Canada was wrong or outside their rights as a nation.

On Bryan Caplan's blog site, fellow blogger Scott Sumner expressed outrage at the recent university scandal where some wealthy individuals paid bribes to get their children into more prestigious public schools that they otherwise would have been excluded from. I find it analogous that that Scott Sumner could like those students, he could have enjoyed their presence, and think they are great people, but rather passionately supports excluding them, and is outraged that they used tricks to get around the exclusion.

You keep saying the same thing, but you don’t say why. That’s probably the problem here. You’re not offering a theory of why you oppose the people who create policies that you like, you merely state it, over and over again.

You may have an interesting position here, but it’s impossible for me to tell, because you won’t elaborate beyond your thesis statement.

No. I don't "oppose the people who create policies that [I] like"! I didn't say that at all. I didn't imply anything of the sort. I don't think you are even trying to have an honest conversation at this point.

Trying means quoting you three times and checking to verify that I've understood what you've written. They call that "active listening." You were complaining about it just one comment back. It's quite easy to tell which one of us isn't having an honest conversation: It's the one who keeps refusing to elaborate and forces the other person to guess-and-check about the meaning of his words.

I've been attempting to elaborate my position as clearly and concisely as possible. And advance the discussion. Maybe if you asked a relevant question?

The open borders advocates don't dispute the classical premise of nation states and democracy that you cite. They argue that we should move away from nation states, and even undermine them, moving forward.

That's literally an existential issue, as in, that's what separate countries are for.

I like to think that when the Great Reset happens I'll be a successful road warrior but the truth would doubtless be far more appalling and humiliating. Libertarian economists in government-subsidized universities seem to suffer the same delusion. Have they thought about what replaces the nation-state and the nitty-gritty details of how, for example, you keep your charter city on prime Caribbean coastline from becoming like the rest of Honduras?

The bagatelle of requiring physical violence in defence of property and rights has been solved in Caplan's world. He saw a Cato paper on it, somewhere.

Yes. Caplan and Huemer are generally arguing that nation states should not exist. And that separate countries as they were conceived, should not exist. We all agree on this, it seems...

Is this like the anarchist dilemma of what to do in case people decide to form a State? Why shouldn't Palestinians and Israelis have separate countries if they want--or anybody else?

Convince people there are better models of society and governance than nation states based on exclusion and birthright membership. And you undermine the nation states that exist so you have a demographic majority that oppose exclusive nation states.

Since you cited Israel, if you admitted the people that wanted to immigrate into Israel, a majority would prefer the new arrangement over the present arrangement.

Right, and then Israel wouldn't be Israel, which is why Israelis build walls.

Israel wouldn't be Israel? There may continue to exist a society and a geography in that location that continues to be named Israel. Or maybe they will choose a new name.

Israel builds walls to preserve their ethnic, racial, and religious identity. I thought we both understood that. You shouldn't need to point out the obvious.

They argue that we should move away from nation states, and even undermine them, moving forward.

Do Caplan and his fellow travelers actually come out and say this, anywhere? That they are at best ambivalent about nation states and see open borders as a means to undermine them? 'Cause if they really feel that way but are downplaying that, rhetorically, and are in fact intent on using leftist do-gooders as useful idiots in some ideological bid to weaken central governments...I have to say, I would respect them even less in that scenario than I do now. I really have no use for people who won't argue in good faith.

The modern nation state is not owned by its citizens. In fact such language is regarded as a feudal anachronism by moderns. Instead, citizens get a laundry list of various abstract rights.

Moving away from the modern nation state would open up arrangements such as actual ownership of the state and the territory it controls by citizens in a land trust. The open borders advocates want to move away from the modern nation state for the same reason, but they just don't want things like collective land trusts owned by all citizens. They want corporations or wealthy private individuals owning them.

There are reasonable and meaningful differences in the liberatarian state models which equate to differences in ownership structure:

1. A corporate state, with shareholders (maybe non-resident)
2. A partnership state, with equal citizens
3. A private state.

But Caplan only talks as if "3" and maybe "1" are options!

The modern nation state developed out of autocratic and feudal arrangements in which sovereignty was explicitly owned by the king, lords, etc. The transition to the modern nation state involved the expansion of various rights and privileges to subjects of the sovereign, but formal collective ownership of sovereignty by all citizens was never instituted. Moreover, there were active attempts by the Founders to prevent the democratic collective ownership of the state, and they favored the minority of government bond holding creditors like themselves using state power to enforce tax collection from resistors during the Whiskey Rebellion. Also, aside from federal lands, state parks, etc, the state in the US doesn't own all the real estate. It's privately owned by individual citizens. That's why a land trust in which all the real estate is commonly owned by all citizens would align border control of the whole country with citizens private property rights.

Is there anything to be gained from splitting "border control" from "citizenship/lawful residence" issues?

It occurs that a state doesn't have to own land to have certain rights over it. There's no reason a nation may not exercise border control over privately owned land....

You are making a very different argument than what Bryan Caplan and Michael Huemer and the other libertarian open borders advocates are making.

You are citing the US Founding Fathers to say that the citizens don't collectively own the nation and ownership isn't passed down from parent to child as an inheritance.

Caplan and Huemer argue that it is absurd to consider ourselves in any way bounded by what the US Founding Fathers intended a long time ago. I believe, they agree, that yes, traditionally, nations are collectively owned by their citizens, that's a reasonable understanding of the status quo, but that's not the way it should be moving forward. There arguments are driven by logic in the present, regardless of what was stated in the past.

I find Caplan and Huemer's argument more reasonable in this sense. Broadly, the US founding fathers saw the US as a specific people, with a specific identity that believed in self-governance and did not believe in open membership or anything close to open borders in the way that Caplan and Huemer advocate. I don't wish to debate the nitty gritty of history, and I'm sure you can find a few quotes that counter what I'm saying, but broadly, I don't think the open borders argument is supported by the founding story of the United States.

I don't think Caplan follows others of his ilk in troubling to distinguish between the ideas of the Founders and the specific people at whom those ideas were directed, or whether those Founding ideas might not be congenial to all human groupings alike.

Except where they impinge on or aid the framework of the "free" global marketplace, he has no use for "the founding story of the United States," especially those elements that once invited a certain level of participatory democracy:

"Democracy fails *because* it does what voters want."

Presumably recent events in this country have reinforced in him this hostility.

Depending on the context, probably half yours. However, I am fairly intimately involved with one culture in particular, and from my experience they really and truly do not "get" republican government or Anglo-American conceptions of inalienable rights.

Also, are you a Ph.D.-level academic or do you run a landscaping company? "Immigrants" is a big category.

That was directed to RPL # 29. Good grief.

I'm neither an academic nor a construction worker. I work in a corporate office that is fairly diverse, and I have a side-business and a couple of hobbies that put me in regular contact with various immigrant communities.

In my experience, the problem you describe is true of all people with a low level of political awareness, be they native or immigrant.

I’ve had some thoughts on open borders. They probably make no sense but I will share them anyway.

Open borders are coming no matter what we do. Why?

1. Because travel around the world becomes easier and easier. and
2. Population around the world gets denser and denser which means any disaster, man-made like wars or natural like floods, will force millions to move. Consequently,
3. We will have world government sooner than any one has ever thought.

One more thought: We have already fought for open borders for years! We want our money to be able to go and buy resources no matter what the local governments think. We have always been for open borders for our money even though we oppose open borders for humans.

International corporations already operate as if all borders are truly open

The current conflicts are due to the anachronistic democratic State and its civil rights, which regards its subjects as fungible, and to the fact that the real money and power no longer reside with the State but with the financial elite, who distort the democratic process. Thus, if we abolish the State, let people buy their own countries and draw lines around themselves or not, we arrive at what a market-based "immigration" system would look like.

But currently, it is the State itself which maintains Open Borders via its civil rights, monopoly on offensive force, birthright citizenship, due process, and open infrastructure. Before the nation-state, there was freedom of movement. Of course, there was also no welfare, no public education, no birthright citizenship, and you could be exiled for vagrancy or executed for sedition.

Immigration in the democratic State is privatized profits and socialized costs.

+1000. Go Caplan Go!! Immigration and Open Borders for all! #openborders #stopthewall

What if opening the borders triggers massive violence? Do the Libertardians still support the idea?

Just assume no violence.

Problem solved.

As valid as assuming massive violence.

What if opening the borders triggers massive economic growth and no increase in violence per capita? Do you still oppose the idea?

Yes, the crowding would be intolerable. The environmental degradation would be terrible. We would also lose social capital a la Putnum. There are many more reasons as well. There is much more to life than just economic growth. You econ types are surprisingly one dimensional. Fortunately, this will never come to pass - most people on Earth value home and hearth and their social connections.

home and hearth and their social connections

You mean, blood and soil?

That's precisely what he means.

The US preamble says that the US is "for ourselves and our posterity" which basically means "blood and soil". I'd like to see the open borders types debate Whiteshift author Eric Kaufmann. Because, yes, most people on earth do value their identities and ancestral affiliations.

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