Are libertarians against all borders and all nations?
I stumbled upon an article from the “Center for a Stateless Society” (a self-described “Left Market Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center”) with a debatable perspective on borders. The article is entitled, “Against All Nations and Borders” which to me is an anti-libertarian proposal. You cannot be against ALL borders.
Around every individual is a border that if trespassed without permission would constitute assault, battery, rape, etc., depending on the nature of the physical trespass. Private property lines are certainly legitimate borders (any supposed “libertarian” whose philosophy is at odds with the ethics of private property cannot, by definition, be a libertarian).
I do somewhat agree with the sentiment, “against all nations”, because of the destruction caused by putting countries before individuals throughout history. The word “nation” usually refers to formal governments. However, a “nation” of people who choose to voluntarily associate shouldn’t be looked down upon. If the U.S. government dissolved and a “nation” of libertarians was created to voluntarily live in a certain area and respect property rights and non-aggression, I wouldn’t have any opposition to this “libertarian nation.”
According to the author of the article, “Libertarianism has nothing to do with national interests. Libertarianism is about individual liberty. The liberty to live your own life, to pursue your own livelihood, and to come and go as you please to anywhere that’s open to you or anywhere you’re invited to go.” I agree with this. But, would an open border or “free immigration” be consistent with this statement about libertarianism?
Absolutely not. As the author states, individuals are free to live their lives, “and to come and go as you please to anywhere that’s open to you or anywhere you’re invited to go.” So, one condition of “free immigration” is that the land in question must be unowned. There is government land that should be unowned where people could certainly settle. The other condition of “free immigration” is that to travel onto owned property, you must have permission. These two conditions are at odds with reality of immigration. Someone in Canada or Mexico can’t just teleport to an empty area in the U.S. and magically have all the resources necessary to set up a homestead there. Rather, this will require use of government-owned infrastructure.
Without granting legitimacy to government-owned property or “public property”, it needs to be understood that all “public property” used by anyone to migrate to an area is rightfully owned by taxpayers. Only taxpayers can possibly have a claim to “public property”. Not because “public property” is legitimately owned by the state and thus the taxpayers, but because taxpayers are victims of expropriation of property by the state. Therefore, an immigrant has no claim to use government infrastructure to facilitate migration.
The other condition of “free immigration” (necessity of invitation to enter private property) is also at odds with the reality of immigration. Short of border enforcement of some kind, there is no way to prevent uninvited people from entering. As usual for so-called “left libertarians”, the crux of their argument is that people with other opinions on borders are racists who don’t want their neighbors to invite immigrants. Not once was private property mentioned in the article. Nor was it described how the author’s two conditions mentioned earlier relate to the act of immigrating into the state as it currently stands. For more information on this subject, read my thoughts on “Immigration in a Free Society.”