November 8, 2012

Bryan Caplan explains why finance professors and citizenists are monsters

Here.

Anyway, I want to thank Bryan for dredging up a seven-year-old analogy I drew in VDARE.com:
By "citizenism," I mean that I believe Americans should be biased in favor of the welfare of our current fellow citizens over that of the six billion foreigners. 
Let me describe citizenism using a business analogy. When I was getting an MBA many years ago, I was the favorite of an acerbic old Corporate Finance professor because I could be counted on to blurt out in class all the stupid misconceptions to which students are prone. 
One day he asked: "If you were running a publicly traded company, would it be acceptable for you to create new stock and sell it for less than it was worth?" 
"Sure," I confidently announced. "Our duty is to maximize our stockholders' wealth, and while selling the stock for less than it's worth would harm our current shareholders, it would benefit our new shareholders who buy the underpriced stock, so it all comes out in the wash. Right?" 
"Wrong!" He thundered. "Your obligation is to your current stockholders, not to somebody who might buy the stock in the future." 

The point of this story, of course, is that this fundamental principle of corporate governance is, while logically necessary, rather easily overlooked, such as by 22-year-old me.

I went on to analogize:
... That same logic applies to the valuable right of being an American citizen and living in America.

Bryan doesn't comment on the subtle distinctions between fiduciary responsibility toward current v. future stockholders or current v. future citizens. Instead, he just wants to change the topic and discuss some 3 AM in the Dorm Room hypotheticals that could be brought up to try to get any discussion of ethical responsibilities off track. He writes:
But I want to continue the conversation with Steve's professor.  If I'd been in the same class, I would have immediately raised my hand: 
Me: Well, suppose I could help current stockholders by poisoning the products of our competitors, leading to the deaths of thousands of children.  Do I have an obligation to do that?

No, Bryan, you don't.

That's not what was being discussed in that MBA classroom 31 years ago or in my essay 7 years ago. We were talking about the subtle but crucial difference between current and future stockholders / citizens. Bryan's hypotheticals aren't relevant because his Poisoning Children brainstorm applies equally well (or badly) under whichever rule of fiduciary responsibility you think should apply. If you rip off current stockholders by creating new stock and selling it below what it's worth to future stockholders and you poison children to benefit the new stockholders, well, that's bad, too. In fact, it's even worse because two wrongs just make two wrongs.

Bryan says:
Yet as far as I've seen, none of the defenses of "citizenism" address this [Poisoning Children] concern.  If an avowed citizenist were to announce... 
Of course I acknowledge fundamental moral obligations to all humans.  But we still have a little moral latitude to favor fellow citizens. 
...the two of us could have a useful conversation.  I'd ask, "If allowing a peaceful worker to accept a job offer from a peaceful employer isn't a fundamental moral obligation, what is?"  And I'd listen carefully and respectfully to his reply. 
However, if a citizenist recognizes no moral obligations to non-citizens, I can only dismiss him as a monster.

But, Bryan, as you may have noticed in the first line you quoted from me, I said,
By "citizenism," I mean that I believe Americans should be biased in favor of the welfare of our current fellow citizens over that of the six billion foreigners. 

"Biased in favor of" is hardly the same as "recognizes no moral obligations to non-citizens" and does not imply Poisoning Children. I also do not, for example, to use one of your 3 AM in the Dorm Room hypotheticals from another post, believe America should invade Canada and enslave Canadians.

As for, "If allowing a peaceful worker to accept a job offer from a peaceful employer isn't a fundamental moral obligation, what is?" I say, lots of stuff is a more fundamental moral obligation, such as not violating fiduciary trust by watering the stock / watering the citizenship.

To adapt and extend super-commenter Jason Malloy's analogy: My adolescent child does not have a fundamental right to make a job offer to a wino to move into our house to do my child's chores for him in return for half of his allowance. Nor does the wino then have the right to invite his brother to move in to our house, nor the wino's brother to invite his daughter and her kids in, nor the wino's brother's daughter's daughter's husband and his kids from a previous marriage, etc etc.

It's worth noting that the Preamble to the Constitution is rooted much more in my way of thinking than in Bryan's:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.  [Emphasis mine]

On the other hand, some popular thinkers have disagreed with the Founders. For example:
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too 
Imagine all the people living life in peace
You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one 
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man 
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will live as one 

145 comments:

Aaron Gross said...

Citizenism deserves all the scorn it gets, no doubt about that, but really, who is this clown? If you can wade through all the dramatic dialog and suspenseful plotting of his little vignette, you finally get to the one sentence's worth of substance: "If allowing a peaceful worker to accept a job offer from a peaceful employer isn't a fundamental moral obligation, what is?"

Then he generously says he'd listen to the reply. So, here's my reply: "Stop asking stupid questions! Save your stupid questions for your fellow libertarians! Sheesh."

Anonymous said...

Kaplan: Any view of responsibility that would give US taxpayers any less obligation toward people in third-world nations (all 5b of them) than their blue-collar (i.e., loser) neighbors in the US is completely morally indefensible. Thus, my moral sensibility exists on a higher plane than Sailer's. Ergo, I am higher status than Sailer (that loser). Haw haw, look at him, he cares about blue-collar Americans! l2globalism.

Now excuse me while I retire to my racial enclave.

snapperhead soup said...

Unless they happen to live in Israel.

C. Van Carter said...

Caplan wants to impose his morality on everyone. Unlike moralistically motivated regulations or taxes, this imposition is irrevocable because it transforms the country.

C. Van Carter said...

Anthony de Jasay put it well: "For it is quite consistent with the dictates of liberty and the concept of property they imply, that the country is not a no man's land at all, but the extension of a home. Privacy and the right to exclude strangers from it is only a little less obviously an attribute of it than it is of one's house. Its infrastructure, its amenities, its public order have been built up by generations of its inhabitants. These things have value that belongs to their builders and the builders' heirs, and the latter are arguably at liberty to share or not to share them with immigrants who, in their countries of origin, do not have as good infrastructure, amenities and public order. Those who claim that in the name of liberty they must let any and all would-be immigrants take a share are, then, not liberals but socialists professing share-and-share alike egalitarianism on an international scale."

Anonymous said...

That's a most impressive argument not easily addressed.

However, Americans should have no moral obligation to strangers except leaving them alone.

Similarly, the only moral obligation strangers should have towards Americans is to let Americans alone.

Not sure about how Human Rights fit into this, but Americans should not feel responsible for the plight of non Americans, regardless of exquisite universal moralizing for which liberals have a fetish.

Auntie Analogue said...


Caplan and, to this point in time, every one of his commenters overlook our U.S. Constitution, whose preamble says it all:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Got that? "We the people, of the United States" - not foreigners who come here in violation of our laws and sovereignty over ourselves and our soil.

Got that? "A more perfect Union" - not an exploitative colony of Mexico, Somalia, Bosnia, or of any other foreign state, religion, or anarchy.

Got that? "[E]stablish Justice" - not "anything goes" or "everyone and anyone comes" and usurps the power to boss us around and dictate to us what they claim to constitute Justice in our own homeland.

Got that? "[I]nsure domestic Tranquility" - not import the Third World so that millions of unemployed Americans go without work and so millions of imported low-to-no-skill foreigners chow down on U.S. taxpayers' gravy train and form in our midst a voting bloc that favors foreign powers or foreigners who come here in violation of our laws, or form an economic drain by dint of their remittances from our commonwealth to foreign peoples outside our borders.

Got that? [P]rovide for the common defence" - not lay supine for a walkover by millions of illegal alien colonists who, despite their lack of lethal weapons, are, in fact, invaders who impose a huge strain on U.S. citizen-taxpayers and on all of the institutions supported by the taxes they pony up, and who form a political liability to us in the form of grievances capitalized upon by foreign powers and used to blackmail us into giving them what they demand from us.

Got that? "[P]romote the general Welfare" - within our borders, not the welfare of people outside of our borders or the welfare of people who come univited from outside our borders.

Got that? "[S]ecure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity" - to "ourselves," not to anyone who decides he can elbow his way in with impunity and take what is not constitutionally his for the taking.


All else is bovine excrement - including the analogy formed falsely between commerce and politics against so-called "citizenism." Any "wedge issue" deployed by globalists against the political validity of the people who, by "the consent of the governed," voluntarily form and maintain their nation-state is bovine excrement.

C. Van Carter said...

Caplan concedes he has no real argument when he claims "I'm only describing common decency".

Of course debating immigration with libertarianoids is pointless because of their fundamental misapprehensions.

Toddy Cat said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - anyone who takes Bryan Caplan seriously needs to have his head examined. Caplan is an open borders fanatic and a pacifist, so any society that adopted his policy prescriptions would perish pretty much immediately. Caplan's only saving grace is that he dislikes Communism, but so does anyone who isn't a loon, so that's not saying much.

Anonymous said...

"...the two of us could have a useful conversation. I'd ask, "If allowing a peaceful worker to accept a job offer from a peaceful employer isn't a fundamental moral obligation, what is?" And I'd listen carefully and respectfully to his reply." - They are absolutely free to go overseas to hire that worker, and to sell the product in his home country to boot.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me he is just trolling...

Jokah Macpherson said...

It's because the citizenists want to poison the Mexicans' water! Looks like Caplan has you pretty much checkmated there.

socks said...

With growth slowing and little reason to believe it will pick back up between continued population growth and resources constraints, how far do we average down? Caplan claims to want a useful conversation. I'll start with, world per capita GDP = $10.5k, How far down is he, personally willing to go, or better yet, what should income distributions look like and where would that leave him?

Of course, he most likely waves his hands and assumes more growth because his (and most others') worldview doesn't make sense without it.

David said...

You're drawing blood, Steve.

Here's what typed:

As Libertarian Hans-Hermann Hoppe says, for Jose to get to point B, he must cross many people's private property (including air space). Those owners may legitimately form an association to prevent or set conditions upon passage over their property. (Here's Hoppe's paper.) Even an arch-Libertarian recognizes that people have collective interests... which are called ...a nation, a polity.

I wonder if Kaplan is for unlimited open borders for Israel. Y'know, that being the "moral" policy and all.

Bill said...


Caplan says . . .
I'd ask, "If allowing [an illegal alien] to accept a job offer from a peaceful employer isn't a fundamental moral obligation, what is?"

It's incredible to me that I once would have thought that this was a persuasive argument.

Anonymous said...

I'm no fan of home invasions but I do love when Steve goes into other people's blogs and ransacks the place.

Dan in DC

Mr X said...

Meanwhile, in California, look what else the Latino immigrants of poor extraction are bringing to American shores:

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/09/06/tapeworm-in-her-brain/

AllanF said...

Wow, I haven't seen such sloppy argument utterly pwned in a comment thread since Gladwell's last fisking.

I'll never understand how these jokers are ever taken seriously in the first place.

Svigor said...

I love the fact that we have the web these days, and can show everyone what these libertarian ideologues really think:

Israel has no right to exist. Certainly has no right to keep out the surrounding Arab populations, or the entire populations of China or India.

Hunsdon said...

Stuff and nonsense.

6 degrees of Lotus 123 said...

Wow, following the links on these VDARE posts is either really fascinating or groan-provoking depending on one's point of view I guess

Anonymous said...

The guy does not seem to understand the supersubtle distinction between "basic moral obligations" and following the law...

brioche prices in Paris 1775 said...

Don't worry Bryan, "unskilled Americans" probably dismiss you as a monster too

Podsnap said...

...the two of us could have a useful conversation. I'd ask, "If allowing a peaceful worker to accept a job offer from a peaceful employer isn't a fundamental moral obligation, what is?" And I'd listen carefully and respectfully to his reply.

My reply would be "If giving the new employee hurts my current shareholders then I am duty bound not to employ him. If on the other hand he would add to shareholder value then it's up to me, but I have no moral duty to give someone a job. In just the same way I NEVER have a moral duty to allow an immigrant into my country."

Like arguing with a child.

Anonymous said...

Caplan writes an awful lot of crap.

As Lord Palmerston once put it "Britain does not have friends, it has interests" - basically this has been the schtick that has governed human history since the very first tribes delineated areas of the globe as to be their homelands and evolved some sort of hierarchy, government and leadership. Always but always the putative state was run 'in the interest' of its people - that was the whole raison d'etre the entire leitmotif. Everything else was just an also-ran, just minor flim-flammery on the way.
Some over-intellectuallising professors like to kid themselves with their own verbosity, rhetoric and sophistry that times have changed, and Palmerston's old dictum no longer applies because the elitists - and their pet pols - have managed to 'legislate and treaty it all aay' whilst Joe Sixpack was looking the other way.
Well, I've got news for them. They haven't. Just look at how the EU is imloding now that the proles have woken up and finally realised they're being conned blind.
- Or even look at the Israeli border fence and how that's stopping millions of worthy Africans from their 'right' of 'working a job to better themselves'.

JerseyGuy said...

Steve,

The always spot-on Ed West in the Telegraph:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100188486/pundits-tell-the-republican-party-the-only-way-you-can-win-is-by-importing-more-democrat-voters/

dk said...

I posted the following in EconLof comments but it was censored ostensibly because it contained "profanity" and "snide ad hominem attacks". Apparently, it's OK for Caplan to use the word "ass" but not for commenters.

I will only start believing Caplan's sincerity when he personally allows several illegal immigrants to live with him in his house. Without something like that it's just too convenient for him: he stays in the bubble that he cherishes so much while unwashed masses take it up the ass because Caplan thinks it's a moral thing to do.

Svigor said...

Caplan hates free speech. 90% of my comments there were censored.

Anonymous said...

http://dailycurrant.com/2012/11/07/buchanan-white-america-dead/

Anonymous said...

Hm, I wonder why Caplan chose this particular time to revisit Steve's 2005 article? Are identity politics finally becoming salient in the mainstream after the election?

http://youtu.be/NZZt3jPDvNQ

O'Reilly coming out and saying "white establishment is now the minority" really surprised me.

Anonymous said...

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/11/08/democrats-win-supermajority-in-california/

lol

Anonymous said...

"If allowing a peaceful worker to accept a job offer from a peaceful employer (one who does not reside in Israel) isn't a fundamental moral obligation, what is?"


Libertarians are stoopid.

Auntie Analogue said...


The very same comment that I contributed earlier here (above) I also posted to Caplan's blog - and it was rejected by Caplan's Language Police because I used the polite euphemism "bovine excrement." So, Mr. Caplan von Sanctimony, who preaches that all of us should lie down like doormats and let in millions more illegal alien Third World colonists, will not allow plainspoken English on his precious private blog property.

Can any of you, my dear Sailermates, tell me how to say "bovine excrement" in Spanish? Maybe then Mr. Sanctimony would overlook my scandalous solecism.

I have, by the way, not stooped to repost my comment, sans "bovine excrement," at Caplan's blog. Groveling by way of submitting to Goodthink is for those who would allow us to be further colonized.

Svigor said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - anyone who takes Bryan Caplan seriously needs to have his head examined. Caplan is an open borders fanatic and a pacifist, so any society that adopted his policy prescriptions would perish pretty much immediately.

Exactly. Caplan gets his wish at 0600 hours. At 0605 hours, somebody with more sense (hard to be specific as to who, since that casts such a wide net) takes over Caplan's utopia, changes immigration policy to something that makes an ounce of sense, and hangs Caplan.

People who are unwilling to protect what they have will see it taken by someone else. Ergo, America in 2012.

jeanne said...

Libertarians just cost us a Senate seat in my state...fanboys are crowing about all the votes Gary Johnson got, never caring about downticket candidates of course.

Just the Big Picture.

Anonymous said...

I posted the following in EconLof comments but it was censored ostensibly because it contained "profanity" and "snide ad hominem attacks". Apparently, it's OK for Caplan to use the word "ass" but not for commenters.


It's a curious thing that libertarian blogs are the most censorious ones on the net, much more so than conservative or liberal blogs.

Jehu said...

People give a lot of lip service to moral universalism. I don't, I detest and despise it.
But that lip service confuses most aspies like Libertarians and their ilk.
The fact of the matter is that pretty much NOBODY, even Singer, actually acts as if they really believe moral universalism. Their morality is NOT utilitarian, nor it it total egoism. Their actions are most consistent with a duty-based morality.
The proof of this is an exercise of observing how many rich liberals send their kids to their local schools when said schools are 'diverse'. You can also see more proof by examining the money spent for cats and dogs in the US and comparing it to charitable contributions to really poor foreigners.
The problem is that most of us feel compelled to deny our actual motivation in favor of 'greatest good for the greatest number' claptrap and cant. Since anti-white control the MSM and most of the institutions of indoctrination, moral universalism is ALSO de facto Anti-white.

Embrace the particular.

Svigor said...

I want to preface this by saying that "liberaltarian" is not crude or offensive. It is simply accurate. "Liberaltarians" are liberals pretending to be libertarians.

1. If the only way to save a citizen was to kill a noncitizen, would you do it? What about killing 2 noncitizens to save one noncitizen? What about a 10:1 ratio? 100:1? 1,000,000:1? 1,000,000,000:1? Exactly how less morally valuable than a citizen is a noncitizen to you? For the sake of the argument please ignore the massive effects on the global economy that killing a billion noncitizens would have?

If the only way to save a non-citizen from the misery created by his fellow non-citizens was to take all sovereignty and liberty away from Americans, would you do it? Apparently, the liberaltarian answer is a resounding "yes."

If not, how many non-citizens' happiness is Americans' sovereignty and liberty worth? 10? 100? 1000?

Libertarians abide by "live and let live." Liberaltarians do not; they think "live and let live" is monstrous.

2. A philanthropist entrusts you with a million dollars, telling you that you can donate it to either saving dying children in a foreign country, or improving the grounds of your local college. What percent of the money would you give to each cause?

How many Americans would liberaltarians enslave to save one non-American from poverty? All of them, apparently. Liberaltarians would rather deny Americans' right to dispose of their property as they will than let Mexicans live according to their own means.

3. If you were transported back into an era when there were no countries and everyone was divided into tribes, would you advocate abolishing tribalism and erecting a nation-state with citizenist ideals in its place? If so, please explain how citizenism differs from tribalism in kind, rather than merely degree. Assume you will suffer no reprisals from the tribe that adopts you for your advocacy.

If you could argue without resorting to epithets like "tribalism," would you? Worse yet, if you were arguing with someone who wasn't a liberaltarian ideologue, and who didn't consider "tribalism" a bad thing, would you? Or would you just rely on the censorship from the "moderators" to simply censor opposing viewpoints?

4. Your son/daughter has terminal cancer. The government of another country has recently discovered a cure for their type of cancer, but is hoarding it and only giving it to people who renounce their current citizenship and permanently becomes a citizen of their country. The government of that country is otherwise benign enough that you and your child wouldn't suffer much living there. Would you move to that country with your child and become its citizens to get the cure? After doing so, would you stop caring about the citizens of your original country?

Hey, this is fun.

4a: If you press button 1, liberaltarian ideas will be enacted nation-wide, but China will be nuked into oblivion. If you press button 2, liberaltarian ideas will be forever rejected nation-wide, but China will be spared. Which button do you press?

4b: If you press button 1, your wife's head will explode, but Mexicans will be allowed free movement across the US border. If you press button 2, your wife will be spared, but Mexicans will be denied free movement across the US border. Which button do you press?

4c: If you press button 1, no one will ever again be allowed to offer silly choices that put people's friends and family up on the chopping block so as to obscure the real issues with personal ones (which is not at all the same thing to making a comparison between national and individual rights). If you press 2, the quality of political arguments will not be enhanced, but people will be freer to make silly arguments, and freedom is good. Which button do you press?

Svigor said...

Even if you believe that helping strangers is superogatory, like Bryan does, you should still acknowledge that people who choose to do it are simply better than you. I don't see how this is controversial. If someone really does sign over the majority of their paycheck to USAid they are a morally better person than someone who doesn't. Does anyone honestly dispute this?

I do. How do I know what USAid does with their money? E.g., if it's going to Africa, it's doing more harm than good in the long run. The Africans will use it to overshoot the carrying capacity they create. I.e., they will overpopulate. Then, when my largesse ends, their children will starve to death; I will have paved the road to hell with my good intentions.

Anonymous said...

As touched on by others up-thread, many libertarians consider both property rights and open borders to be fundamental pillars of their worldview.

Of course, how one can own property without boundaries (borders) that define that property, is an exercise left to the vivid imagination of the sanguine-eyed libertarian and his spliff of freedom.

Anonymous said...

Of course libertarians excel at sweeping negative externalities of two-party contracts (employer - immigrant employee, f.e.) under the rug. This is a necessity to maintain their fundamental delusions about reality and human nature.

Finally, most paid open borders libertarians are of course shills for the cheap labor lobby, and are susceptible to attack from that flank.

Svigor said...

I take it back; the lovely lass at Caplan's has now posted most of my comments. She's just really slow.

You would think she'd have an easier time just allowing posts and then removing the ones that are uncivil, but, maybe she likes the power, or something. She'd probably have more fun working for the DMV.

Svigor said...

I would gladly teach the Mexicans how to fish. Giving them my fish? Not so much.

Svigor said...

It's a curious thing that libertarian blogs are the most censorious ones on the net, much more so than conservative or liberal blogs.

I've never understood this. Telling people they have no right to make collective decisions (outside the board room, I guess) is the zenith of offensiveness in my mind. Argumentum ad hominem and four letter words pale next to that IMO.

Anonymous said...

Professor Caplan's deployment of straw man example after example, and our academic President's penchant for the same makes me wonder if the ability to form apposite and subtle analogies is a lost art in American academia. No wonder our ever higher educated masses of voters just seem dumber, less able to think clearly about public issues, than the (mostly 12th grade educated) people I grew up around in the 50s and early 60s.

bjdubbs said...

Why is selfishness a virtue of the individual but not the state? I don't see why the same principles don't apply to the state as to the individual. What would Ayn Rand think of Caplan's gooey moralism?

Anonymous said...

Via Mangan's, absolutely spot-on post-election analysis from the UK Telegraph: "Pundits tell the Republican party: 'The only way you can win is by importing more Democrat voters' "

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100188486/pundits-tell-the-republican-party-the-only-way-you-can-win-is-by-importing-more-democrat-voters/

Anonymous said...

People still read econlog since Kling left?

Severn said...

Priceless! That "libertarian" website has now removed all my comments "pending verification of email address"!

I let them know that my email address is in fact my email address. Let's see if my comments ever make it back.

There's a huge disconnect between the way libertarians run their own blogs and the way they think the rest of the world should be run.

Anonymous said...

Libertarians are fascists. It makes no difference how civil and well-thought out your response is, - they delete it and ban you, every time.

Anonymous said...

I take it back; the lovely lass at Caplan's has now posted most of my comments. She's just really slow.

You would think she'd have an easier time just allowing posts and then removing the ones that are uncivil




She removed all of mine, supposedly "pending verification of email address". No doubt the little fascist will forward our details to the DHS.

Yan Shen said...

Once again, at the risk of sounding repetitive, the problem here is that Steve is pitching an economic argument to an audience mostly concerned with race.

To continue the business metaphor here, Steve's readers are less interested in maximizing shareholder value and more interested in keeping the company a family business.

Severn said...

It's too bad that libertarians are not half as tough about allowing people into the country as they are about allowing people to comment on their blogs!

Being libertarians, I'm sure they have some elaborate rationalization which explains why everything they do is not only permissible, but morally good!

Anonymous said...

legalism vs illegalism.

Anonymous said...

Hey Caplan, don't favor your family over me. I'm hungry. Feed me before you feed your kids.

Severn said...

To continue the business metaphor here, Steve's readers are less interested in maximizing shareholder value and more interested in keeping the company a family business.


To continue the business metaphor here, a country is a family business.

Svigor said...

Steve's readers are [...] more interested in keeping the company a family business.

Hey, that's pretty good Kato!

Vipul Naik said...

Dear Mr. Sailer,

I created the Open Borders site and am one of the bloggers there. It's a pleasure to have you blog about citizenism, an ideology that is covered extensively on the site (summary page, blog posts. The distinction between current and future citizens was the topic of the very post that Bryan Caplan linked to (Future Citizens of all Kinds by my co-blogger Chris Hendrix) and is listed as one of the key features of citizenism on the summary page.

We also have a post lined up for the near future that will look at citizenism in the context of the US constitution. This was initially planned for one of our already published posts, but we then decided to give it a full separate post.

In defense of Bryan, however, I will say that there is a lot to citizenism and it can be critiqued from a number of angles. That Bryan chose to focus on the one angle that he considers most important does not mean that he failed to understand the other angles. As you can see from our numerous posts on citizenism, we've struggled to grapple with this intriguing philosophy in numerous ways.

Nike James said...

Of course, Lennon isn't American but anyway...

FredR said...

That thread just gets funnier as it goes on.

Steve Sailer said...

Dear Mr. Naik:

I appreciate your dropping by.

I presume you are trying to hint to my readers, while maintaining plausibility deniability with poor Bryan, that while Bryan's critique of citizenism turned out to be an epic fail, the Open Borders campaign has other, perhaps better critiques of citizenism out there.

I invite you to link to them here in the comments.

Thanks.

Severn said...

Over an hour after informing them that my email address is correct, they're still not letting my comments go up.

I referenced these words by Irving Kristol about John Kenneth Galbraith and suggested that they apply to Caplan.

Galbraith thinks that he is a economist, and, if one takes him at his word, it is easy to demonstrate that he is a bad one. But the truth is that Galbraith is not really an economist at all, he can be more accurately described as a reluctant rabbi.

Which seems to have enraged them.

SFG said...

"It's too bad that libertarians are not half as tough about allowing people into the country as they are about allowing people to comment on their blogs!

Being libertarians, I'm sure they have some elaborate rationalization which explains why everything they do is not only permissible, but morally good!"

It ain't that hard. Blogs are private property, you're free to start your own.

I still don't agree with them on open borders, but that one's easy enough.

William Boot said...

Bryan's radicalism can lead to some good insights, some of the time, but even he must realize he's full of crap most of the time.

A. There's no point in writing any argument that comes down to "in know in my Heart this Right." Such stuff may guide a lot of action, but it's not an argument, except to women.

B. Even he does not believe what he's saying here. And he knows it.

If he really felt the way he claims to, that people closer to you should not get better treatment than those further away, he'd be morally obligated to kill his children and harvest their organs for other kids. By sacrificing his two (three?) kids, he could save dozens.

Let's say he countered with a "murder is never right." He'd still be obligated to give all his money away to the point that he lived somewhere around the world average rather than as an American elite. And rather than raising his own kids, who have the genetic advantage of being born to a college professor, he should spend his time with kids who have less. When he's got twenty people squatting in his house, he can start talking about the moral imperatives of open borders. Until then, he has nothing.

Anonymous said...

Blogs are private property


Remind me again, why isn't the United States also "private property"? And if you say "It is", then you're agreeing with me, just in a disagreeable fashion.

Jeff said...

Bryan,

May I have sex with your wife? My sex life needs an immediate upgrade. You seem to be the kind of man to offer up some assistance to those who proclaim a need. You seem just the kind of guy to offer up some twisted version of moral obligation that doesn't really exist, so I am hoping that you will find the moral obligation inherent to my query.

My sex life has really waned recently and I need some assistance. Since swinging and extra-pair copulations are plentiful in both America, and in many third world countries, I am sure you would agree that there is nothing immoral about them. Moreover, since billions of people practice the view that a man should have some dominion over his wife, including many people with brown skin, I am sure that you find nothing objectionable about said views and can duly arrange the tryst.

In the event that you agree to help me assuage my sexual frustration by partnering me with your wife, I would be in your debt. However, should you agree, but I am unable to attend, I would like to offer up a surrogate of my choice. Please feel free to respond.

If you cite my request as immoral, or believe that swinging is immoral, then I say to you, "who are you to force your views upon others?" You need to do as you are told, and what you are told by those asking is the most important direction of all. Afterall, when poor Mexicans declare a need to emigrate to the USA, you believe them; you don't believe all the people in the USA who say otherwise. So when I say, let me bang your wife, you should listen to me, not to yourself. Fair is fair.

Dennis Dale said...

Doesn't Caplan's poisoned children/enslaved Canadians analogy condemn citizenship as immoral in itself? (Not to mention any discrete self-interested group or undertaking, be it a family, a corporation or a contract) If a bordered US is a moral abomination, what right do I have to fence my yard, or lock my door?

I mean, the vicissitudes of geography mean only those relative few just over the border are able to circumvent our draconian immigration laws. Shouldn't we be shuttling people in from all corners (or perhaps relocating periodically)?

To satisfy Caplan's gargantuan moral requirements doesn't any inaction before this collossal wrong constitute murder/slavery?

My God, where does it end? Oh shit, I think I just--yes, oh horror, I did!--I just poisoned a child somewhere! And there goes a Canadian!

God, isn't Imagine the most execrable piece of crap ever? Put it in the Obama canon along with Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley. God help us.

Anonymous said...

I would really, really love to see Vipul Naik and Bryan Caplan advocating for open borders in India and Israel, respectively. But no, not gonna happen - we all know that. Lesson: it was a mistake to open borders to the likes of Vipul Naik and Bryan Caplan in the first place. Letting their ancestors build their own prosperous countries would be much more fair to everyone involved.

Randall C. said...

"I would gladly teach the Mexicans how to fish. Giving them my fish? Not so much."

---I would say no to both. Why should we teach others to compete against us (or lift a single finger to help them, for that matter) when they constantly express a desire to take over the SW of our country and cleanse it of Anglos based on false premises. Why is it that we are expected to selflessly give to "the other" and get nothing but hatred in return? Forget it. I said, 'to hell with that' decades ago.

"Yan Shen said...
Once again, at the risk of sounding repetitive, the problem here is that Steve is pitching an economic argument to an audience mostly concerned with race.

To continue the business metaphor here, Steve's readers are less interested in maximizing shareholder value and more interested in keeping the company a family business."

---I think most of the readers here recognize that 'the family business' does maximize the shareholder profit- it has been the most productive, innovative and profitable business that the world has ever seen. So yeah, they wanna stick with it. Problem is, everyone else keeps demanding their 'right' to a part of it, and generally without contributing their fair share in return.

Anonymous said...

Yan Shen said: To continue the business metaphor here, Steve's readers are less interested in maximizing shareholder value and more interested in keeping the company a family business.

But they are STILL concerned maximizing shareholder value! The reason being, of course, is that they learned from history and know proclivities of other families. This knowledge pretty unequivocally tells them that letting the business out of the family would result in the precipitous drop of its value.

Svigor said...

It ain't that hard. Blogs are private property, you're free to start your own.

I still don't agree with them on open borders, but that one's easy enough.


But surely free movement of ideas is more important to liberaltarians than free movement of people. Right?

And to move the argument closer to Caplan's heart, surely allowing the free exchange of ideas is a more moral policy than making people jump through hoops just to express their ideas. Right?

Yan Shen said...

If anyone's interested, I offer up my middle of the road philosophy on Bryan's blog, which I refer to as cognitive elitism.

Steve Sailer said...

Yan Shen writes:

"To continue the business metaphor here, Steve's readers are less interested in maximizing shareholder value and more interested in keeping the company a family business."

That's a helpful insight. I'm not sure I totally agree, but it's a useful analogy to use in thinking further.

David said...

I left another comment over there, and here it is, somewhat expanded.

**

The best argument is the Holocaust.

The government must not stop anyone who wants to come to America, because otherwise Hitler will gas my grandma.

Expanding this argument, a town must not stop anyone - say, a motorcycle gang - from coming into the town. The streets of the town do not belong to the taxpayers, administered ultimately by their elected representatives. The sewer system of the town does not belong to the taxpayers, administered ultimately by their elected representatives. Nothing about the town is owned by anyone in the town. In fact, there is no "town." Infrastructure and government are mere constructs that don't exist. Society is a mere construct that does not exist. What exists is only THIS patch of dirt and THAT patch of dirt, and I want to put my foot on THAT patch of dirt, and fascists are trying to stop me.

The "town" "belongs" to whomever wants to go there. Except "town," again, is a mere fiction.

The concept of "externalities" is also a fiction, a club invented by monsters to control other people from motives of immorality.

If I am fleeing a persecutor, I have the clear right to break into your house to hide. I also have the clear right to claim any usufructs in the "town." I have the clear right to anything I please. The reason is that altruism trumps absolutely everything, at least on the moral plane. (And it should certainly trump everything on the legal, economic, and physical planes, too.)

On a lighter note, if I wish to bring a man-eating tiger with me, and someone is enough of an awesome altruist to choose (voluntarily!) to host me and my man-eating tiger and her cubs in his apartment, then only a fascist would deny that I and my host have the right to do this. Other residents in the apartment who raise objections are no more than third-party buttinskies, outrageous monsters who have no right to say anything about my babies, period! I don't care how laughably "endangered" their silly children feel.

For these logical reasons, no one ought to object if 100 million people - this year, next year, or per year - descend on apartments, hospitals, schools, "neighborhoods," "towns," or "countries" and reduce or destroy the property value and social capital therein. First, there are no such things as "nations," "towns," or "neighborhoods" - there are only individual, independent buildings that came from nowhere and are owned by no one except the one owned by my beneficent employer/host. Secondly, all immigrants are Einstein and they only enhance property values and social capital without exception. But even if some immigrants were not Einstein, and even if some immigrants did ruin the place (which is a total economic falsehood! EVERY immigrant enhances corporate profits, I mean property values and social capital, EVERY. ONE. OF. THEM. PERIOD. ... only a crazed ideologue who has not read Rothbard would suggest otherwise), still, all are human, and all therefore logically have a right to free medical care, free education, free food, free or low-cost housing. Taxes, of course, they will pay when they are up to it. Meanwhile, taxation is really theft anyhow, isn't it? The immigrants also have a right to listen to music at top volume day and night, if their host says it's okay (and even if he doesn't, I contend) and the right to settle disputes among themselves and others according to their voluntary folkways, which may or may not include the use of bullets. It is not for a moral person to judge others. Remember, altruism the definition of morality, and morality trumps, or should trump, anything.

But the most important point I would like to make is, that anyone who disagrees with me about anything is responsible for the death of my family in the Holocaust. I think all reasonable people can agree on that. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

If anyone's interested, I offer up my middle of the road philosophy on Bryan's blog, which I refer to as cognitive elitism


Why don't you offer it on this blog, where everybody is allowed to comment on it?

as said...

I would really, really love to see Vipul Naik and Bryan Caplan advocating for open borders in India and Israel, respectively. But no, not gonna happen - we all know that. Lesson: it was a mistake to open borders to the likes of Vipul Naik and Bryan Caplan in the first place. Letting their ancestors build their own prosperous countries would be much more fair to everyone involved.


India has open borders. Large numbers of Bangladeshis have been migrating illegally since the war. Pakistanis migrate across the northern border and both Pakistanis and Afghans come into Kashmir. Sri Lankans Tamils come in from the Southeast. All of these migrations, especially from Bangladesh, cause problems.

India is not a nation state, with many of the states each representing an ethnic group. People from the poor states/ethnic groups move to the richer states/ethnies.

(There are also people from Burma, some random people from Nigeria or wherever, who live there).

The main thing is, India is so poor that no one really wants to move there, except for people from even poorer countries.

---

I get the point about building your prosperous countries (a Zionist movement). You're right about that.


Yan Shen said...

From Econlog...

"Yan Shen writes:

Bryan, if you'll allow me to offer up a philosophy in contrast to both your own and that of Steve Sailer's, which I call cognitive elitism...

Cognitive elitism is the recognition that cognitive ability/IQ/whatever you want to call it, really plays a very important role in determining outcomes, both on an individual and a national level. In today's highly competitive global economy, high quality immigration, as practiced by countries like Singapore or Hong Kong, is an important component of being able to stay ahead of one's peers.

Thus, cognitive elitism is in contrast to both rabid ethno-patriotism and rabid "let's open up the borders to anyone who wants to come over"ism, in that it recognizes the important fact that globalization isn't necessarily a zero-sum game, but also recognizes that only immigration of a certain kind and in certain numbers is beneficial.

Bryan, sometimes I think to myself that if only a Lee Kuan Yew-type figure were in charge of public policy in this country, a lot of the madness that passes for public discourse these days would soon come to an end..."

Anonymous said...

as:
India has open borders.

Is that why it is building The Fence?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh%E2%80%93India_border

To open them even more, just like Vipul Naik and Bryan Caplan want?

Svigor said...

Bryan, if you'll allow me to offer up a philosophy in contrast to both your own and that of Steve Sailer's, which I call cognitive elitism...

Cognitive elitism is the recognition that cognitive ability/IQ/whatever you want to call it, really plays a very important role in determining outcomes, both on an individual and a national level.

Bryan, if you'll allow me to offer up a competing definition of "cognitive elitism": the argument that white Americans should do what "cognitively elite" populations tell them to, and never, ever do what "cognitively elite" populations actually do.

Never pursue the golden rule; ignore how the other fellow treats you, and always treat him well. Reciprocity is crazy. The Chinese should be allowed to keep China Chinese, and turn America Chinese, too. The Saudis should be allowed to keep Arabia Arab, and turn America Arab, too. And so on and so forth with the Indians, the Mexicans, etc.

The idea that Americans should try to get the best of any deal with the Chinese is economically illiterate; it's not a zero sum game, after all. If China gets a pile of gold and we get a pile of fertilizer, well, hey, we're up one pile of fertilizer!

The idea that America should limit population exchange with China to parity (after accounting for how much less valuable Chinese citizenship is than American citizenship) is of course, economically illiterate. Reciprocity is crazy talk.

TL;DR version: Never, ever do what smart people do. That's dumb. Do what they tell you to do.

In today's highly competitive global economy

China, Israel, and India are not pursuing a "cognitively elite" immigration policy. The populations of those countries are obviously "cognitively elite," but they don't pursue "cognitive elitism." That's what makes "cognitive elitism" so clever; it's for Americans, not "cognitively elite" populations.

high quality immigration, as practiced by countries like Singapore or Hong Kong, is an important component of being able to stay ahead of one's peers.

Because a massive, continent-spanning country has so much in common with a city in terms of immigration policy.

Bryan, sometimes I think to myself that if only a Lee Kuan Yew-type figure were in charge of public policy in this country, a lot of the madness that passes for public discourse these days would soon come to an end...

I wholeheartedly agree with Yan Shen about one thing: I'd much prefer an LKY immigration policy to the disaster we have now. But I don't consider replacing a major disaster with a minor one to be the optimal course.

Boswell's Barnacle said...

I presume you are trying to hint to my readers, while maintaining plausibility deniability with poor Bryan, that while Bryan's critique of citizenism turned out to be an epic fail, the Open Borders campaign has other, perhaps better critiques of citizenism out there.

Gentlemanly and insulting at the same time. Comedy gold!

hbd chick said...

@yan shen - "Cognitive elitism is the recognition that cognitive ability/IQ/whatever you want to call it, really plays a very important role in determining outcomes, both on an individual and a national level. In today's highly competitive global economy, high quality immigration, as practiced by countries like Singapore or Hong Kong, is an important component of being able to stay ahead of one's peers."

there's more to human biodiversity than just iq.

Yan Shen said...

"The Chinese should be allowed to keep China Chinese, and turn America Chinese, too."

It's doubtful that America will turn Chinese anytime soon. The Chinese American population is something around 3.8 million. There are about 1.34 billion Chinese in mainland China. 3.8 million over 1.34 billion comes out to roughly .28%. The idea that hordes of Chinese are fleeing the country for the US is largely a statistical myth. Chinese Americans are barely over 1% of the US population.

"China, Israel, and India are not pursuing a "cognitively elite" immigration policy."

This is also a myth, at least as far as mainland China is concerned. Not only does China recruit Chinese from the West from STEM positions, it also actively recruits Westerners. Mainland China is by and large following the same kind of immigration policy as Hong Kong or Singapore, limited numbers of high quality immigrants.

Jason Sylvester said...

When my Dad worked for Control Data back in the 1970s, they sent him to one those thinky-feely seminars (think Zig Ziglar, though this one wasn't him) that were just catching on in Corporate America as somehow worthy of employee time and company money.

At one point during this particular encounter group - I almost typed "rap session," in the true 70s spirit - a curtain was drawn back to reveal huge cardboard cutouts hanging from the ceiling with labels like "Human," "Employee," "American," etc., etc. The audience was asked to get up and self-sort themselves under the dangling sign that they thought comported with their primary identity, how they thought of themselves first & foremost, or words to that effect.

My Dad said he and all of the guys roughly his age - he was born in 1943 - put themselves under the "American" sign, but most of his co-workers, all younger than him and many of them company imports to the OKC MPI division from places like Stanford and MIT, planted themselves firmly under the "Human" banner without hesitation.

I remember my Dad recounting this anecdote - several times - in somewhat bemused amazement and wonder that anyone in that room didn't consider themselves an "American" first; you might say he'd missed the "Imagine" memo.

Although it'd probably have very little statistical utility, I'd like to see a nationwide map of actual 2012 voters confronted with that same ancient-70s corporate seminar question - "do you identify primarily as an American first or a 'Human'?" - overlaid on a map of the Blue/Red county vote breakdown in this last presidential election.

I think two such independently color-coded such maps would probably blend pretty closely - if not perfectly - to match that 2012 presidential election-by-county breakdown.

Anonymous said...

Great column Steve. Caplan of course has the typical Israeli-Jewish attitude: Open borders for thee, but not for me.

The Will of Landru said...

Suppose we want to keep the gender balance in the US at 50/50 unlike some Asian countries, so that there will be no shortage of females in the next coming decades. This results in immigration restrictions, is this really evil as Caplan would assert? Are we responsible for "bailing out" other cultures and countries because of their bad decisions?

Svigor said...

This is also a myth, at least as far as mainland China is concerned. Not only does China recruit Chinese from the West from STEM positions, it also actively recruits Westerners. Mainland China is by and large following the same kind of immigration policy as Hong Kong or Singapore, limited numbers of high quality immigrants.

I have no problem with a reciprocal maximum on Chinese immigrants to the US. I.e., a maximum of no more of them here than we have there as a share of population, after correcting for the lopsided trade involved (public goods and services, economic opportunity, rule of law, population density on useful land, corruption levels, enshrined rights, etc.). Of course, we're talking a pretty low number once the math's done.

Jeff said...

"Yan Shen said...
Once again, at the risk of sounding repetitive, the problem here is that Steve is pitching an economic argument to an audience mostly concerned with race. To continue the business metaphor here, Steve's readers are less interested in maximizing shareholder value and more interested in keeping the company a family business."

Yan Shen, here is a challenge for you to prove that you are not a sniveling wimp who doesn't understand that shareholder value is not just limited to the actual price of the share, but also your ability to proudly proclaim ownership to it. After all, if you owned shares in a smut business, you probably wouldn't brag about it over Thanksgiving dinner.

Okay here it is:
How do white men, descended from knights and other warriors and adventurous types, benefit from an increase in population wherein that increase leads to reduced land availability for adventurous activities and/or just good, old fashioned, high testosterone, mayhem?

Please inform how people, like me, who are both intelligent and adventurous, benefit from reduced recreational land? I minimally care about Facebook, the Internet, mobile phones, or a cascade of other modern crap. I care about driving like a bat out of hell, alpine skiing, water skiing, caring for my family, not lying, leaving every place better than I found it, and having lots and lots and lots and lots of sex, here, there and everywhere. And the funny thing is: there are probably more than 100,000,000 people similar to me already here. So how do we benefit from your presence? Do you really think we are motivated just by money (is that all that Chinese people think of or just you)? Or do you think we also care about living life and having adventures? In marketing, value is what sell: confluence of price, utility and image. It is not just about price.

Think about that for a second. You must be so far removed from the life of even a weekend warrior, that it never crossed your mind that filling a nation with people necessarily forces nearly everyone to be like herd animal. Just think, in a nation of 1.2+ billion people, it was Jeb Corbliss, flying the arch, not a Chinese. Why do you want a crowded area? Maybe your very personality, and our collective recognition of its limitations, and it's soul deadening nature, is what is setting of alarm bells.

Click to see the fun side of life and see Jeb in action. http://youtu.be/GUEZCxBcM78
I would posit that, we definitely don't need any immigrants who are not moved by that video; cute girls, fun times.

William Boot said...

My apologies for the earlier comment. I mustered the energy to actually click through and saw that Bryan did address the issue of showing favoritism to family.

Of course, he addressed it in such a way that it's clear that even he knows favoritism to family destroys his argument against favoritism to citizens — Why write a post and then end with a paragraph that indicates that even you don't believe your own nonsense? — but still, he did address it.

By the way, I second Steve's observation that it's wildly hypocritical for the radical libertarians to have comments moderated and then email addresses validated on top of that. I mean, really? The Nazis weren't that restrictive about blog comments back in the 30s.

Anonymous said...

This all very funny - open borders vs heavily moderated comments.

So inviting a peaceful (illegal) worker into your country is non-controversial, there are no serious externalities to be considered. But a blog comment? That must be treated with caution.

Surely the reverse should be true?

Yan Shen said...

"I have no problem with a reciprocal maximum on Chinese immigrants to the US. I.e., a maximum of no more of them here than we have there as a share of population"

I don't know what the numbers are exactly for current immigrants, but I'm guessing that if you're just looking at current immigration over say the past year, the numbers are probably not that lopsided, normalized as a percentage of the respective populations, when comparing mainland China to the US. Increasing numbers of Western expats live and work in mainland China these days in cities like Shanghai.

As China further develops, I expect that immigration will drop along the lines of say Japan and that most of the normalized numbers will be fairly close.

See here.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ciocentral/2012/11/06/taiwanese-entrepreneurs-saying-goodbye-to-the-u-s-hello-to-china/

"Taiwanese Entrepreneurs Saying Goodbye to the U.S., Hello to China"

Johan Gutenberg said...

Another crazy utopian song that infected western culture was "We are the World"

ben tillman said...

Yet as far as I've seen, none of the defenses of "citizenism" address this [Poisoning Children] concern. If an avowed citizenist were to announce...

Then perhaps he should read his own website more thoroughly, as I've addressed this ludicrous "concern" there.

It's the difference between property and aggression.

If you can refute an argument in fewer than 10 words, it's a pretty stupid argument.

Ain't Rand said...

I must say, I've never seen such an authoritarian commenting set up as the one over there. I'm surprised they don't expect some sort of DHS security clearance before you can post. If that's what passes for libertarian liberty, they're free (ha!) to keep it, but I'm not posting over there.

So, I'll just say it here. I was astonished by this comment of Caplan's, which seems not to have struck anybody else (except maybe somebody over there whose comment was folded, spindled and mutilated for lack of an authorized email):

I freely admit that I put my children's welfare far ahead of the welfare of strangers. Nevertheless, if one of my children kicked an innocent person, cheated on a test, or slashed a rival's tires, I'd have a duty to set my feelings aside and make my child answer for his offense. I certainly wouldn't help my child trample the rights of others.

Wait, what? If this guy finds that his kid has cheated on a test, he's going to go fink to the school rather than deal with it himself? Where'd he get his parenting skills from, Pavlik Morozov?

This is the Aspbergery fetishization of abstract rules and the disregard of the natural bonds of personal relationship taken to the extreme. I'd call a parent like that… a monster.

Yan Shen said...

My biggest detractor here, Svigor, vehemently complains that I'm advocating for the US an immigration policy that I would never advocate for China, when in fact the exact opposite is true. I'm advocating for the US exactly what China, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc are doing, which is basically pursuing limited numbers of high quality immigrants.

The problem with the US is that a lot of public opinion is extremely polarized and often extremists on both ends of a given spectrum are the only ones whose voices are heard. Which is why I've been saying for years now that if only a commonsensical middle of the road Lee Kuan Yew type were in charge of public policy in this country, much of the craziness would surely end...

Udolpho.com said...

Caplan clearly has Aspergers. Well he's a libertarian, so some form of brain damage is certain.

Jeff said...

"As China further develops, I expect that immigration will drop along the lines of say Japan and that most of the normalized numbers will be fairly close."

We can only hope so. HBD Chick's link is a tour de force. Holy cow, East Asians do not mix with Anglos.
http://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2011/11/26/civic-societies-ii/

as said...

Is that why it is building The Fence?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh%E2%80%93India_border

To open them even more, just like Vipul Naik and Bryan Caplan want?


This fence thing has under construction for a long time. It does not work at all. Bangladesh is pouring into India.

---

Also, the Kashmir border is militarized.

But it doesn't make a difference.

---

The only thing which slows migration into various parts of India is extreme poverty. And if the people doing the migrating are also extremely poor, it doesn't make a difference.



slumber_j said...

"Imagine" has always struck me as laying out an utterly disgusting vision, obviously. Why do people gravitate towards this crap?

as said...

Is that why it is building The Fence?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh%E2%80%93India_border

To open them even more, just like Vipul Naik and Bryan Caplan want?


I would also add that the US has border controls, and that there is a fence between Mexico and America.

But the US has .5 million illegal immigrants and 1 million legal immigrants, right?

Vipul Naik said...

Dear Mr. Sailer,

I linked to the blog posts in my prior comment. Please read it again.

David said...

>Caplan clearly has Aspergers.<

One of his commenters avows having Aspergers and tells us how not being neurotypical showed him the way to open borders. Basically, open borders gives him more friends. No comment.

As my long, sarcastic, and accurate parody of much common libertarian thinking on open borders (at 11/8/12 6:28 PM) suggests, there are issues in the movement that are only too striking to outsiders who peek in from time to time.

ben tillman said...

I'd ask, "If allowing a peaceful worker to accept a job offer from a peaceful employer isn't a fundamental moral obligation, what is?"

They're not peaceful. They're using the force of the State to enable the worker to trespass with impunity on others' property.

By the way -- C. Van Carter, that quote from Anthony de Jasay is perfect.

ben tillman said...

1. If the only way to save a citizen was to kill a noncitizen, would you do it? What about killing 2 noncitizens to save one noncitizen? What about a 10:1 ratio? 100:1? 1,000,000:1? 1,000,000,000:1?

Am I the only one who reads this and thinks of Rabbi Ya'acov Perin's statement that "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail"?

Severn said...

I don't have a problem with a certain degree of what Yan Shen calls "cognitive elitism". Although. his term is a misnomer.

I'm perfectly willing to allow a few thousand high IQ immigrants to enter the US each year, on the condition that they assimilate. Failure to assimilate after, say, five years would be grounds for expulsion.

A few thousand means two to five thousand,. Not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands.

Severn said...

That thread just gets funnier as it goes on.


And shorter too.

If anyone is wondering "Why didn't Severn just validate his email address?", I did. I jumped through their stupid little hoop. And they still opted not to allow my comments to remain.

Anonymous said...

Sailer is a monster!! Cool!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye8mB6VsUHw

ben tillman said...

To continue the business metaphor here, Steve's readers are less interested in maximizing shareholder value and more interested in keeping the company a family business.

Your metaphor would apply only if Americans were seeing the value of their shares increase. They're not. Their shares are being diluted.

Anonymous said...

Okay here it is:
How do white men, descended from knights and other warriors and adventurous types, benefit from an increase in population wherein that increase leads to reduced land availability for adventurous activities and/or just good, old fashioned, high testosterone, mayhem?


Weren't much of the founding stock such as the New England WASPs like mild-mannered, sexually restrained, merchant types?

Ben Franklin and other founding stock WASP types had a very Calvinist/Protestant work ethic outlook and liked more land relative to people because it meant each person could be more productive and "useful" and basically do more work with more capital, not so much for more recreation. They probably would have regarded the idea of more land being better because it could be used for snowboarding or something as being wasteful and profligate.

ben tillman said...

My biggest detractor here, Svigor, vehemently complains that I'm advocating for the US an immigration policy that I would never advocate for China, when in fact the exact opposite is true. I'm advocating for the US exactly what China, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc are doing, which is basically pursuing limited numbers of high quality immigrants.

I don't believe your claim that the governments of those countries are doing what you say they're doing, but even if they were it wouldn't be cognitive elitism. Cognitive elitism would dictate that they keep their smart people at home, and they don't. They send them here to extract resources from us.

Auntie Analogue said...


Must hand it to you, Mr. Sailer, this post of yours has proven to be delectably provocative of impassioned, and even of some closely reasoned, responses.


My dear Yan Shen:

Don't look now, but your "cognitive elitism" was U.S. immigration law and policy in fact and in action up to 1924, when massive immigration was allowed, with preference to highly assimilable anglosphere and European immigrants, to supply necessary labor for then rapidly expanding U.S. industry which was domestically provident across all classes.

In 1924, with U.S. labor demand satisfied by the prior massive immigration wave, immigration law and policy became even more cognitively elitist as they stringently reduced immigration to a trickle, and gave admission preference to very few anglosphere and European applicants; which proved eminently wise as this policy allowed the U.S. to school and assimilate the pre-1924 massive wave of immigrants to become Americans, and not just to become Americans but also to mature into patriots who contributed greatly to winning World War II and to putting put men on the moon and hauling their happy hides back to earth.

Since 1965, when that "cognitive elitism" was dumped for massive immigration preference to Third Worlders - none of whom were needed as there was no demand for for labor that the existing U.S. population was able to supply (and at a time when the urban Negro underclass would have benefitted hugely from employment), the U.S. has gone into what appears to be its terminal decline. We have now no means of launching men into space, let alone of sending them to the moon and back - in fact we must book passage for our astronats aboard the rockets of other nations; we cannot even win wars against garbage dump shambles of excuses for nations; we have a president who seems to insist that promoting Moslem Brotherhood and Salafist takeovers of regimes that had been our allies and that hiring our enemies to guard our Benghazi consulate was a bright idea; to "pay" for our post-1965 immigration largesse, for moronic backfiring social engineering programs (from school lunches to subprime mortgages), and for the Team America World Police work, we have gone into crippling debt to foreign powers; and we have two political parties whose finest minds (God help us) believe that "immigration reform" consists solely in a massive amnesty giveaway - without even beginning to address the grave peril of still leaving open our southern border. I cannot therefore escape the distinct apprehension that we Americans would have done far better had our two major parties nominated Elmer Fudd and Wile E. Coyote.

beowulf said...

Caplan's argument reminded me of the DI in Full Metal Jacket,
"I admire your honesty. Hell, I like you. You can come over to my house and f*** my sister."

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who reads this and thinks of Rabbi Ya'acov Perin's statement that "One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail"?

Aren't you being hypocritical here by intimating that you're bothered by this kind of moral reasoning? You've suggested before that you hold the same group-selection view of morality.

medvedev said...

Yan Shen:
My biggest detractor here, Svigor, vehemently complains that I'm advocating for the US an immigration policy that I would never advocate for China, when in fact the exact opposite is true. I'm advocating for the US exactly what China, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc are doing, which is basically pursuing limited numbers of high quality immigrants.

No. All you are doing is trying to come with anything that justifies you residing in the USA all the while pursuing your tribal interests that go against interests of people who build the country in a way that it became attractive for you. You are definition of "self-serving" (dishonest, at it).

Anonymous said...

I don't believe your claim that the governments of those countries are doing what you say they're doing, but even if they were it wouldn't be cognitive elitism. Cognitive elitism would dictate that they keep their smart people at home, and they don't. They send them here to extract resources from us.

I don't know about China, but HK and Singapore do seek white-collar immigration.

I believe the smart people from those areas that leave generally do so for personal gain like higher salaries. Are you saying that they don't do it for personal gain but only leave because they're sent by their governments to extract resources from us? Did, say, Yao Ming or Ichiro Suzuki play pro ball in the US not for personal fame and fortune but because they were sent by their respective governments to extract resources from us? What about American ball players who play pro baseball in Japan? Or American basketball players who have played pro basketball in China (Stephon Marbury and some others have played there recently)? Did they do so not for personal wealth but because they were sent by the US gov't to extract resources from those countries?

Silver said...

"To continue the business metaphor here, Steve's readers are less interested in maximizing shareholder value and more interested in keeping the company a family business."

That's a helpful insight. I'm not sure I totally agree, but it's a useful analogy to use in thinking further.


I don't think so.

It might be a useful analogy if America were 100% white and Yan Shen were urging Americans to let people like him in because he was going to make them rich beyond their wildest dreams.

But the fact is the 'family business' was stolen away from Americans a long time ago.

At the end of the day, the choice is to face up to racial reality (in all its aspects, not just IQ) or to continue lying about it. The lies are usually self-interested more so than malicious (though this can't be discounted) but they are lies nonetheless.

ben tillman said...

I believe the smart people from those areas that leave generally do so for personal gain like higher salaries. Are you saying that they don't do it for personal gain but only leave because they're sent by their governments to extract resources from us?

No, I am saying that they are not pursuing a policy of cognitive elitism. Such a policy would require them to keep their cognitive elite at home. They don't.

Silver said...

"To continue the business metaphor here, Steve's readers are less interested in maximizing shareholder value and more interested in keeping the company a family business."

I dislike the shareholder analogy because it acts as an open invitation for mendacious immigration boosters to promise people that immigration is going to make them rich, rich, rich -- totally ignoring those life goods that cannot be (or cannot easily be) priced in dollar terms yet are so precious.

At the end of the day, the choice is to face up to racial reality (in all its aspects, not just IQ) or to continue lying about it. The lies are usually self-interested more so than malicious (though this can't be discounted) but they are lies nonetheless.

I should add, the lies about race are not always as outrageous as, say, blank race denial (denial that races exist) or IQ denial (or denial that 'intelligence' means anything). It's often more subtle. But at bottom it's always a form of self-interest masquerading as principle. That's why it's a better idea to expose that self-interest than debate the issue within the confines of the mental straitjacket people like Byran Caplan or Yan Shen would prefer to keep you in.

Anonymous said...

No, I am saying that they are not pursuing a policy of cognitive elitism. Such a policy would require them to keep their cognitive elite at home. They don't.

You specifically said that "they send them here to extract resources from us."

I don't see why people emigrating for personal gain like higher salaries indicates a policy of non-cognitive elitism. Was Japan pursuing a policy of non-physical elitism because Ichiro Suzuki played in the MLB for personal gain?

Yan Shen said...

"But at bottom it's always a form of self-interest masquerading as principle."

As I've always said, globalization is not necessarily a zero sum game. Sometimes everyone benefits!

As the father of capitalism Adam Smith once said, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest”"

Anonymous said...

By making all these false (and emotive) allusions to border enforcement (ie the right of a sovereign nation to deter invasion)'killing' would-be immigrants (the idea is that they will starve to death in the lands and governments of their births), Caplan and Naik are opening up a whole moral can of worms tthat can be argued and argued and argued forever - and even then will offer up no effective solution.
One small example - for whatever bizarre reason of its own, the Indian government funds a massively expensive space program. As an undeiable fact thousands upon thousands of Indians perish every year due to the non availability of health care or food. Well that's a deliberate choice the Indian government chose to make, obviously they put a higher priority on space research than their own poor.
Likewise, consider the unbelievably immense quantum of human suffering caused by toothache amongst the billion or so Indians - which in actual fact, if you can equivalent the two, is vastly greater than the suffering caused by death through starvation.
Theoretically all this toothache is entirely preventable by human art - we certainly have the means to stop, all that is neede is a massive all pervasive well funded universal cradle-to-grave dental program in India, something that is probably cheaper and simpler to organise than the Iraq War. If Indians can't fund this, a trivial amount from each and every American citizen could fund this. Yet, Americans would rather use their cash to purchase dog food etc.
This little example could be repeated ad infinitum in an infinite number of made-up examples in a parlor game.
The point is, that it is possible to argue that absolutely every bit of spending by free individuals can be argued by someone as being at the expense of a pauper's life.
All the immigrationists are doing is extending this argument into allowing the entire world into western nations.

Anonymous said...

Sceptreless, free, uncircumscribed, but man
Equal, unclassed, tribeless, nationless,
Exempt from awe, worship, degree, the king
over himself ...

Anonymous said...

OT:

A couple of people have linked this "account" of Pat Buchanan's "comments" at the Daily Currant.

Did he really say these things? It seems sort of Onionish.

Steve Sailer said...

"The Daily Currant - The Global Satirical Newspaper of Record"

Anonymous said...

We had people like Bryan in law school. There's a term for what he's doing - "fighting the hypo." In other words, prof poses a hypothetical. Student, instead of figuring out how the law operates in that instance, comes up with some corner cases (or flat-out impossible scenarios) that would thwart the normal operation of the law.

So, say the prof asks you whether someone who stumbles upon his wife sleeping with another man and kills both of them is guilty of murder. The hypo-fighter responds, "How can we know this isn't the Matrix?"

So, yeah, fighting the hypo. Students who did that didn't end up doing very well. But I'm sure Bryan's brilliant.

Dahinda said...

It's call a strawman. That is what he has created and is using in his argument.

FredR said...

Sailer has already pointed out that if he were going to be any monster from Sesame Street, he would be this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIniljT5lJI

Anonymous said...

a wino to move into our house ... wino's brother ... daughter's husband and his kids from a previous marriage, etc etc.

You can expand on the analogy if you say your house is incorporated as a tiny company and the by-laws state that all financial decisions are to be made by a majority vote of all persons residing in the house at the time.

Sell your car and divide the proceeds equally amongst all the residents. All those in favor say aye.

AMac said...

Comments to Bryan Caplan's post either are or aren't closed -- I can't tell. I submitted the following comment to moderation this morning (slightly edited).

- - - - -

I'm the commenter who followed Bryan Caplan's absolutist Open Borders ideology to its logical conclusion, pointing out that United States citizens have no grounds for excluding 400 million poverty-stricken Indians from settling in this country. Also per Caplan, I labelled anybody who dissents from this libertarian orthodoxy as a moral monster (11/8/12 3:50pm)...

It's often constructive when folks with differing perspectives can achieve common ground on some contentious issue. I'm not so sure about the present instance, though.

American progressives got this ball rolling with the 1965 Immigration Reform Act. They judged -- correctly -- that culture and self-interest would dispose most new residents towards their pro-statist views. Clear-eyed country-club Republicans saw the benefits to themselves and their businesses of an expanded supply of pliant, low-cost stoop labor.

The U.S. elites are well along the way to Electing A New People, retiring the visions of Franklin and Jefferson in favor of Caciquismo. The hacienda model of politics is indeed appealing -- as long as you and your friends get to play the role of dueƱo. Or vanguard of the proletariat, if you wish.

Fundamentalist libertarians -- helping the process along.

NOTA said...

Bryan Caplan assumed his own conclusion with the line about the morality of allowing person X to hire person Y. Clearly, if we assume that the right to offer and accept a job ranks above all other considerations, then the argument about open borders is settled. (A far stronger position for his argument, among all but libertarians, would involve refugees fleeing persecution or starvation.)

In a global sense, every human has the same value--my Christianity-based morality says that a Salvedoran or Haitian has the same value to God that I do, and I think Caplan's Utilitarian-oriented morality probably works the same way. However, in order to keep our society working, we have found it helpful to break this global calculation down to more manageable local ones. So, for example, while we might all agree in principle that farmers' fields should somehow be managed so that everyone has enough to eat, the best way we know to actually get enough food grown is to let individual people own and operate those fields, with a right to the proceeds. Attempting to operate the fields under a communal farm turns out, whatever you might imagine on moral grounds, to produce a whole lot less food, and so lead to a lot more hunger.

Similarly, while we might all agree that we want good government (sensible rules justly enforced, commons managed prudently, internal and external would-be predators deterred or killed off) at a global level, to benefit everyone, the only way we know how to do that is on a relatively local level. We know how to get pretty decent government in a geographical area whose people share a lot of culture and history and a language. And just as with a farmer who owns his fields and makes decisions that aren't overly concerned with his neighbors' fields (I'm assuming burning or stealing his neighbors' farm, or dumping poison into their water supply, or whatever are stopped by that local government.), the local government will produce a better world than none or a single global one, but in order to do that, it must concern itself with the best rules for its people. The state government of Arizona should and does concern itself with providing good roads for Arizonans, even though there are plenty of Bangedeshis on the other side of the world who need roads even more. That is how we actually know how to get good public-access roads built.

The farmer or businessman *should* focus on his own farm or business, within very broad moral and legal limits. He may give money to the poor, or even help out a competitor in a pinch, but he will make the world a richer and thus better place, not by thinking and acting globally, but by thinking and acting locally. Even if a million Bangladeshis need fertilizer, the farmer will do better for the world by seeing to his own fields, which he can control and manage, than by shipping his fertilizer willy-nilly to Bangladesh and then not getting many crops to grow. The same applies to a government.

That doesn't say what the best immigration policy is. Perhaps relatively open borders are best--the US has certainly been a big winner from immigration in the past. But the government's obligation is to make that decision based overwhelmingly on the well-being of its own citizens. There may be room for a little charity there, but not all that much--in general, ifimmigration benefits us, we should allow it; if it doesn't, we should not. We can let in a few refugees to save their lives, but we should not try to maximize the welfare of the whole world at the expense of our own citizens, because that's not government's job, and governments can't function very well that way.



Anonymous said...

Comments to Bryan Caplan's post either are or aren't closed -- I can't tell


The're closed to some people - mostly to those who disagree with Caplan. if you want to say something supportive of Caplan, they'll put that up.

snapperhead soup said...

"cognitive elitism" = favor smart east asian-ism.

Wade said...

"If allowing a peaceful worker to accept a job offer from a peaceful employer isn't a fundamental moral obligation, what is?"

I'd just add the following observation...Bryan's reasoning happens in that Libertarian vacuum in which methodological individualism is an axiom. Political unity, civic duty, charity, extended community participation, cultural convergence are given no value whatsoever (why did the "greatest generation" sacrifice so much to defeat the Nazis? For their family and posterity? Naah...)

Of course I'm not saying Bryan personally doesn't care about these values. But as an academic he's used to ignoring these things like a Physics professor ignores wind resistance in order to make a more fundamental principle clear during an easy lecture.

NOTA said...

re cognitive elitism:

It's pretty likely that a citizenist immigration policy is going to be pretty cool with foreign scientists and entrepreneurs coming to the US--they are very likely to make the country better off long-term. But the moral point Steve makes is fundamental--we should mainly run our immigration policy for the benefit of our country, not the benefit of the billions of people who mighr conceivably want to come here nder the right circumstances. That doesn't require hating immigrants or anything, just a fairly cold-blooded assessment about whether we need a lot more unskilled immigrants in a country where high-school drop outs have a sky high unemployment rate, or whether we're letting in so many foreign engineers that we're convincing American kids not to go into engineering because they don't make enough to cover their loans.

Anonymous said...

"Every human has the same value".

What utter, utter crap.

Anyone beyond the kindergarten student knows full well that this sentiment is pure bull-poopy, whether based on 'christian' sentiment or not.
A myriad examples of the pompous hypocrisy and falsehood of this sentiment can be rolled out at the snap of one's fingers.
Suffice to say that in the good ol' US of A, Sheldon Adelson's dogs eat finest filet steak from solid gold bowls whilst Americans live like rats in storm drains.
If the term 'value' as applied to human existence means anything at all, it surely can only mean the material standard of living - and is thus quantifiable by a simple cash sum cf look at compensation payments given by the courts to victims of negligence, injury etc.
As for the notion of 'god' 'valuing all humans equally', well all I can say is that is an interesting theory, with as much utility as a bad case of smallpox.

AMac said...

@NOTA -

Caplan's post and the ensuing conversation were eye-opening to me. I'd conceived of libertarians as being economic conservatives and social liberals. But the Caplan-type libertarians who wrote in defense of Open Borders seem indifferent to the fate of their country (assuming they are Americans).

The U.S. is taking on the worst features of other countries that are riven by divisions -- economic inequality and the concentration of wealth, cultural alienation, ethnic unrest. Perhaps as we become more diversely vibrant in this way, libertarians will belatedly discover that the state of society does matter, to them and their descendants.

Or maybe not. Political Aspergers seems to be a heady mix.

FredR said...

Has Caplan answered Chesterton's Fence question? If not, that might be a good way to advance the conversation on our invisible national fences:

"In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, "I don't see the use of this; let us clear it away." To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: "If you don't see the use of it, I certainly won't let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it."

Anonymous said...

My mom finked on me when she found I had sold answers to a test. Thats how wasps used to act. It's quite apparent that you are not wasp as basic wasp behavior seems like Stalinism to you. Less wasp than Caplan are you sure you are on the right blog.

Anonymous said...

Yea the guy who uses bull poopy knows what he's talking about. Just cause your three year old neice thinks it's funny doesn't mean you should use it every where.

David said...

> eye-opening to me. I'd conceived of libertarians as being economic conservatives and social liberals. <

I realized Libertarians were the radical enemies of my people when, of all things, they organized a hate-campaign against Trent Lott for his remarks at Strom Thurmond's birthday party.

Even though one of their ideological grandmothers - Alissa Rosenbaum ("Ayn Rand") - had said in her libertarian classic The Virtue of Selfishness that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the worst abrogation of property rights in American history, in response to Lott's remark the bearded Trotskyites running various "Objectivist" websites, as well as such people as Virginia Postrel and Glenn Reynolds, went full-on Party Congress. Brooking no contradiction, they asserted instantly and unanimously that racial segregation in the US had been a government imposition upon a nation that abominated it, and that the CRA liberated the people. The freedom to hire, fire, rent, etc. is Nazi "racism"; the government's dictating racial criteria in such matters is "liberty."

It was not only a precise inversion of the truth but also a slap in the face to the late Alissa (whom they don't much like anyway, except when she praises Israel, deregulation, and anomie). A few of these Libertarian writers interlarded their Two-Minute Hate of Lott with treacly reminiscences of their Freedom Rider days or "our work down south."

This incident was a tiny thing (and I disliked Lott too), but it opened my eyes to who these people really are. To put it in terms that might be understood by the Aspie whom I mentioned in a previous comment: They are not our friend.

tommy said...

All of this libertarian talk about freeing the Brains to do "their work" centers around the idea that there is a particular form of work that best suits the Brains when, in fact, the Brains are better at doing practically any form of work. I think it was Gottfredson who found that even truck drivers perform better up to something like an IQ of 120. There seems to be this unstated idea that we should be striving toward a society of cognitive floors rather than ceilings in every job. But is it really for the best if we have the least intelligent factory workers, the least intelligent cashiers, the least intelligent truck drivers, etc. so that a society is likely to have, in comparison to other countries and over the long run, the least intelligent economics professors? I'm going to guess that the gains in comparative advantage are largely lost to the whole of society when you have the least efficient workforce and least competent intellectual class you can possibly assemble.

Anonymous said...

Caplan's post and the ensuing conversation were eye-opening to me. I'd conceived of libertarians as being economic conservatives and social liberals. But the Caplan-type libertarians who wrote in defense of Open Borders seem indifferent to the fate of their country (assuming they are Americans).


You must be too young to remember Prop 187. Libertarians fought strenuously to protect the right of illegal aliens to collect welfare benefits! After watching that spectacle I've never been in any doubt as to what sort of people libertarians are.

Libertarians are for "freedom" in the same sense that communists are for "equality". In both cases nice words are used to cloak what is basically a totalitarian ideology.

David said...

>is it really for the best if we have the least intelligent factory workers, the least intelligent cashiers, the least intelligent truck drivers, etc.<

A comedian explains it all, esp starting at 1:20.

Anonymous said...

So, yeah, fighting the hypo.

For me, "fighting the hypo" means fighting the hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

This incident was a tiny thing (and I disliked Lott too), but it opened my eyes to who these people really are. To put it in terms that might be understood by the Aspie whom I mentioned in a previous comment: They are not our friend.

What opened my eyes was how the Libertarian Party in 2005 handled the assault of Daniel Romano. Some libertarians! The so-called Satanist they derided was probably more of a libertarian than any of the LP.

http://www.freethought-forum.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-1494.html

Simon said...

I'm curious about the citizenist position. If a US citizenist is considering the immigration policy of Japan, what policy would he prefer? As a US citizen would he support a more open policy so that more US citizens could take advantage of opportunities to work in Japan? Or would he imagine himself as a Japanese citizen and advocate a more closed policy? Or is he indifferent to either policy?