3rd January 2017
Open borders – some notes
I never get time to write properly on most issues of interest. This is one of them. I wrote something here on this blog in 2013. Then there was a debate in 2014. Since then I never got time to sit down and review – so I could further elaborate. I’m now going to start these ‘half-baked’ blog posts which contain preliminary thoughts – so I can keep moving.
HAYEK DID NOT PROMOTE OPEN BORDERS.
I totally oppose open borders since the people who pay taxes for running a particular nation are entitled to decide how these should be used, not those who haven’t paid for them. For a theory of freedom kindly read DOF (http://discovery.sabhlokcity.com/). There is NO freedom without a strong state.
Economic migration always moves from a place of lower public infrastructure to higher. There are no rights to millions of people who have chosen to create unfree and poor societies to get access to higher quality public infrastructure, justice system or security. The more free societies can, however, CHOOSE whom they want. At a minimum the entrants should be both personally capable and committed to liberty.
I was informed that Hayek supported open borders. I wasn’t aware of this. I have found, now, that he OPPOSED open borders, as well:
“in a letter to the London Times on February 11, 1978, Professor Friedrich A. Hayek—himself an immigrant several times in his life—praised the British Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher for her call for stringent immigration controls. “While I look forward, as an ultimate ideal, to a state of affairs in which national boundaries have ceased to be obstacles to the free movement of men,” Hayek declared, “I believe that within any period with which we can now be concerned, any attempt to realize it would lead to a revival of strong nationalist sentiments.” [Source: http://www.amatecon.com/etext/cftoi/cftoi-ch17.html].
Once nations have ALL adopted 100 per cent freedom, THEN open borders can make sense, under certain circumstances. Not in the present primitive state where 1/3rd of the world is FANATICALLY opposed to liberty.
Shika Dalmia Sood’s response:
Pardon me, Sanjeev, I admire your positions on many issues, but you are flat out wrong in identifying this as classical liberalism. If the best you could do is pluck out a single quote by Hayek from a piece that is arguing the opposite, then that’s just tendentious. That quote is noteworthy only because it comes from a guy whose full views would lead one to believe otherwise. If Malthus had said it, it would be hardly reportable. I have zero desire to argue with you given your starting point in all of this, but by your logic Bal Thackeray, who advocated even stronger nationalism and restrictionism within his own country in the name of Maharashtran pride, would be an even bigger classical liberal. If Modi used the strong arm of the state to throw Muslims out of India because they are anti-freedom, that would be completely defensible in your version of classical liberalism. Classical liberals also never use the vocabulary of “strong” state. They use limited government which is something vastly different. That you don’t appreciate the difference says something and is at the heart of your misunderstanding. To suggest that Muslims by virtue of living in Muslim countries are not entitled tofreedom of movement and earn a decent livelihood, is both sad and not classical liberal. Also, if the fact that people from less free countries shound’t be allowed to move to more free countries, then I’m not sure how an Indian like yourself is entitled to move to Australia, but not a Pakistani. The government can restrict entry of people if it can prove that they pose a security threat. Not otherwise. But the burden of proof must be on the government. To recommend, as you do, blanket bans on some people is closer to Modi-style fascism. Please reconsider your misguided crusade to label such views as classical liberal. You are not doing anyone any favors. There are plenty of other thinkers you can legitimately enlist on your side. Leave these guys alone. If you are genuinely interested in what they thought on this issue, there is plenty of material on the site I shared and Cato Institute archives. (von Mises’ opus Liberalism had plenty to say on this as did Hayek in places too numerous to mention with the exception of this one. And here too he mentions it as an exception to his full views
Shikha, the classical liberal school of thought is based on strong foundations of the state. It is NOT an anarchist school, as I’ve repeatedly explained. What you are suggesting is a version of anarchy, where people can randomly move from country to country without any check. Labour mobility is important and I’ve written about it. But it is not the same as open borders.
Clearly you’ve not bothered to read the book reference I gave you, for it elaborates how liberty begins and is supported. The territory is the key.
Kindly don’t mix my views randomly with those of bigots and fanatics. If you had cared to read and understand, you’d never even remotely suggest such a thing.
I have already said a LOT on this and may say some more on this. However, the view you are advocating is best described as libertarian. I’m NOT a libertarian. My liberalism is rooted in Hobbes and Locke, and Burke. These are NOT libertarians.
I do write about the ultimate dissolution of the state, as well. But that stage is far, very far away. Till there is 100 per cent equal freedom in all nations, we MUST have borders
I AM NOT SUGGESTING ANARCHY. I am suggesting limited government which a state that is empowered to impose freedom litmus tests is not. Gotta run.
Open border is a form of anarchy. There is basically no state, for anyone can come and go. MILLIONS of beggars from all over the world will land up and one can’t thrown them out. No preference is given to those who have paid taxes and worked hard to make a state a state.
Israel would be overwhelmed by foreign migrations, and the massive efforts of its citizens to achieve a free prosperous society totally nullified.
I disagree with such anarchy. Your denial of this as anarchy doesn’t mean it is not so. It has all the key signs of anarchy under the present circumstances
SECOND CLASS CITIZENS? THAT’S THE BEST AN OPEN-BORDER DEBATE PROMOTES? The whole idea is fundamentally flawed, and time permitting I’ll one day write about it.
“We don’t have to give foreigners welfare or let them vote.” – see: Bryan Caplans post here.
ADDENDUM 3 JANUARY 2017
Open borders comment by Cameron K Murray here:
It allows supporters to pretend that the borders of private property within a nation are moral, yet the borders between nations are not. Somehow if I am denied, through accident of birth, to make a living from my share of the land in my own country, this is a radically different thing to Alex Tabarrok’s view,where he asks “How can it be moral that through the mere accident of birth some people are imprisoned in countries where their political or geographic institutions prevent them from making a living?”
As I have said before, even the wildest proponents of open borders agree that
“…open borders could not on its own eliminate poverty and that international migration could only help the relatively better off among the global poor”
Then what is it really for?
ADDENDUM 3 JANUARY 2017
My summary position: The cost of protecting private property precludes having open borders.