Opinion, Quick Lessons

Video: Why I’m Against Open Borders

In this video, I make my case against open borders. Open border advocates have been doubling down since Hoppe’s talk was released. In it he suggested a halt of mass immigration.

Video Notes:
  • The common argument for open borders is that it is in violation of the NAP to prevent an immigrant from crossing the border. Confused libertines claim that freedom of movement applies here, but, of course, there is no such thing as freedom of movement according to private property norms. In a society based on private property, there is no freedom of movement, only permissibly granted movement by property owners. Of course, you may move freely on your own property.
  • Open borders libertarians miss the mark. While it may require force to stop someone from immigrating, the original act of aggression or violation of property rights was the act of the state taxing people to fund the development of public property and infrastructure.
  • Because the state uses stolen resources to fund public property development and infrastructure, the state can’t possibly grant unrestricted access to public property by opening its borders. It isn’t the state’s property to give away. It isn’t unowned property or a general condition of human action, such as air.
  • Whether we like it or not, public property is a means. Roads and other infrastructure are means to attaining ends. Because public property is in fact means, not a general condition, it is a scarce resource that is subject to private property norms. Because it is scarce, it can be exclusively possessed and accessed. It should be clearer now that public property is not the property of the state, or unowned property, but the property of tax victims.
  • Austrian economics offers this great insight: To quote Rothbard in Man, Economy, and State, “action does not necessarily mean that the individual is ‘active’ as opposed to ‘passive,’ in the colloquial sense.” For the state to not enforce the borders is in fact action by the state. Refusing to enforce borders is just as much an action as halting immigration. Therefore, if the state were to have open borders, this would be an action constituting an unjust transfer of resources, namely public property, from victims of taxation to an unlimited number of immigrants.
  • Such a proposal should be laughed at by any libertarians who understand private property rights to be the foundation of libertarianism.
  • To be clear, this isn’t a consequential argument that it’s better to have closed than open borders for the sake of citizens. My argument is that open borders is logically inconsistent with libertarian ethics.
  • If you still don’t agree, follow the chain of the transfer of property. Tax dollars are taken from citizens without permission, making it an illegitimate transfer. Tax dollars are invested in public infrastructure by the state. By granting unrestricted access to public infrastructure with an open border policy, the state would be unjustly inviting newcomers onto property that they do not have a claim to.
  • If taxation is indeed theft, the state has no right to grant access to public property paid for by taxation.
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