Immigration is a controversial subject in libertarian and anarcho-capitalist circles. Usually when there is a question of what people should be allowed to do or what policies we should support we can turn to property rights. We can ask “who owns this?” Unfortunately, the borders of a nation are not that clear cut. Governments specifically prevent individuals from exercising full ownership of the property along the border, and even seize additional property through eminent domain or similar programs.
Both open and closed government borders are not free market answers. Restricting movement of people over property that you do not own infringes on their rights. Alternatively, the government disallowing private acquisition and thus private decision-making of the land surrounding a nation distorts the amount of immigration that would otherwise occur.
Borders, in part, define the nation-state. It is within those borders that the coercive territorial monopolist of ultimate arbitration exists. So while the strict libertarian/anarcho-capitalist position on borders is to privatize them, to do so means to end the state. Until that happens we are forced to choose a 2nd best option as an immigration policy.
The federal government setting the rules for the entire border is the worst possible route for people who care about respecting the wishes of individuals. It amounts to a few politicians and bureaucrats setting the immigration policy for millions of square miles and hundreds of millions of people.
Being a commonly misunderstood fellow, I am often wrongly accused of many things. The number of times I have been accused of wanting to get rid of roads is uncountable and the times I have been thought of as selfish or uncaring on account of my apprehension to support government welfare is likely nearly as many.
Many people will say things like, “We can do better as a society” – or – “We need to help those in need.” It is a considerable misconception to think I disagree with these statements.
Frédéric Bastiat summed it up well:
“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”
It seems for every new government regulation or intervention it’s advocates claim the free market is unable to accomplish some goal, so the government must step in for the good of all.
Or some such nonsense.
The argument usually turns into which is a better method to solve a particular issue: free markets or government regulation. This debate almost always takes place with the pretense that both sides start on equal ground. As in, whoever does a better job of showing their method will produce better results, is the method that should be pursued.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Government interference and free market capitalism are not two harmless choices we must choose between. One is the initiation of force, one is not. One is enforcing the will of the majority (best case scenario) or the political elite’s (most likely scenario) on everyone, and the other is allowing people to interact voluntarily with others.
The burden of proof is on the person who would force their views on all via government monopoly. This person is known as a statist. The capitalist does not make fanatical promises, or put guns to people’s heads and force them to participate. That is what the statist does. If the statist wishes to centrally plan everybody’s lives the burden is on them to come forth with a plan, and when that plan inevitably fails they must take responsibility for the failure. The free market supporter, on the other hand, does not centrally plan your life. They don’t make you promises of prosperity. They only tell you that prosperity is yours to take. Whether you succeed or fail, you are living your life, and nobody but you is responsible for the actions you take. Continue reading “The Burden of Proof”
We live in a world of scarcity. We can’t all have anything we want because resources are limited. This means there is a potential for conflict between individuals if they desire to use a given good in different ways simultaneously. So what to do about this?
Private property rights. Property rights are a universal method we can use to determine who has the higher moral claim to use something.
Intellectual property, or simply ideas, does not warrant a property right assignment. This is because they are not a physical good that has the potential for conflict of use. For example, if Bob were to manipulate his resources to create a new flying car and Jill saw the invention and made one for herself, Jill would not be violating Bob’s property rights. Bob is still able to use or sell his vehicle and has not had anything stolen from him. Continue reading “Down With Intellectual Property”