February 15, 2014

The wind is at the back of Open Borders

From Marginal Revolution:
The Moral Is the Practical 
by Alex Tabarrok on February 15, 2014  
Tyler concedes the moral high ground to advocates of open borders but argues that the proposal is “doomed to fail and probably also to backfire in destructive ways.” In contrast, I argue that the moral high ground is tactically the best ground from which to launch a revolution.  
Contra Tyler, the lesson of history is that few things are as effective at launching a revolution as is moral argument.  ...
In more recent times, civil unions have gone nowhere while equality of marriage has succeeded beyond all expectation. The problem with civil unions, and with the synthetic and marginalist approach more generally, is that even though it offers everyone something that they want, it concedes the moral high ground–perhaps there is something different about gay marriage which makes it ok to treat it differently–and for that reason it attracts few adherents. ... 
The moral argument for open borders is powerful. How can it be moral that through the mere accident of birth some people are imprisoned in countries where their political or geographic institutions prevent them from making a living?

Personally speaking, my children's births weren't accidents. In general, the higher the proportion of non-accidental births in your community, the better.
Indeed, most moral frameworks (libertarian, utilitarian, egalitarian, and others) strongly favor open borders or find it difficult to justify restrictions on freedom of movement. As a result, people who openly defend closed borders sound evil, even when they are simply defending what most people implicitly accept.

Alex is referring to me sounding evil. His link goes to Bryan Caplan saying:
Think about it like this: Steve Sailer's policy views are much closer to the typical American's than mine.  Compared to me, he's virtually normal.  But the mainstream media is very sweet to me, and treats Steve like a pariah.  I have to admit, it's bizarre.
 

107 comments:

Anonymous said...

most moral frameworks (libertarian, utilitarian, egalitarian, and others) strongly favor open borders

Well, except maybe for that one particular moral framework which governs Judea and Sumaria and which requires the building of a wall.

And then of course there are 5000 years of utterly amoral gentiles living in the complete absence of morality, who built the Trojan Acropolis, Hadrian's Wall, the Great Wall of China, the Maginot Line, etc etc etc...

Anonymous said...

The Poles were evil to want to keep the Germans out of their country in 1939.

The Aztecs were evil to resist the Spaniards trying to start new lives in the New World.

Anonymous said...

I must have missed that part of the Bible about allowing your country to be invaded by anybody who wants to do so. I guess atheist Caplan can tell us where he found that.

Anonymous said...

Also, while I tend to think Caplan is just an Aspie, I would not be totally shocked if he was making these ridiculous and extreme arguments just so people would see how ridiculous and extreme they were.

Polichinello said...

This line of argument about "accidents of birth" shows why libertarians are really of the Left. Really, if it all comes down to the unfairness of some accident of birth, then why should you enjoy a middle class income. But for your accidental birth in this country to well-to-do white parents, you wouldn't be enjoying it. Therefore, why not take from each according to the accident of his ability and give back to each according to his need?

Anonymous said...

"How can it be moral that through the mere accident of birth some people are imprisoned in countries where their political or geographic institutions prevent them from making a living?"

First of all, they are not being imprisoned, that is what the old iron curtain countries did, the people that are leaving their poor countries are not escaping, nobody in those countries is preventing them from leaving. Secondly, when did it become moral for somebody to simply move to wherever he wants ? Even the most extreme libertarians or utilitarians would agree that one does not have the freedom of movement in peoples houses, business office, hospitals, schools, religious buildings etc, because there are good reasons for it. Well restricting who can enter your country also has very good reasons. Ignoring the wishes of those that don't want you in their land is the immoral thing here.

Anonymous said...

But the mainstream media is very sweet to me [Bryan Caplan], and treats Steve like a pariah. I have to admit, it's bizarre.

I blame the anti-bullying movement, for creating a social climate in which someone like Bryan Caplan could be anything other than a laughing-stock.

Anonymous said...

"The Poles were evil to want to keep the Germans out of their country in 1939.

The Aztecs were evil to resist the Spaniards trying to start new lives in the New World."

He is a pacifist...

Anonymous said...

That's why our extermination of Native Peoples in North America was moral.

They didn't believe in Open borders.

And what about the Slave Trade? What right did Washington and Adams have to stop slave holders from importing their property? And what right did England have to stop the African tribes from selling Their Property?

Freedom.

Anonymous said...

1-people have a moral right to education, health care, food and shelter, no matter where they come from.

2-People have a moral right to go anywhere they please, and once there get moral right No 1.

3-So if 50 million Nigerians want to come to the USA, we can't stop them, morally.

Ex Machina said...

most moral frameworks (libertarian, utilitarian, egalitarian, and others) strongly favor open borders

Do any self-assessed moral philosophers start with evolutionary principles/sociobiology/etc., or does they all presume the only way to construct a model for the morally perfect society is by stemming off of 18th Century, pre-Darwinian metaphysicists?

The first thing to establish when viewing society as an organism is the boundaries--the membrane, skin, etc.--of the organism. A "society" without borders is simply not a society.

Anonymous said...

Fun Bryan Caplan fact: he has 4 kids. I don't really know what to make of this. Granted, his Cromartie Index is still quite low, but...

Anonymous said...

First, assume a perfect world. Then everyone has a moral right to live anywhere.

Its that simple.

Anonymous said...

Be interesting to see what Alex's reaction would be to 100 million sub-Saharan immigrants arriving in the USA in a 10 year span as a reaction to his open borders scheme. It's not an inconceivable number, just 10 million arriving per year....

Maguro said...

Wind? It's from all those beans.

Harry Baldwin said...

Who knew "The Tower of Babel" was an action plan rather than a cautionary tale?

Anonymous said...

Since we cannot allow citizenship on the basis of the "accident of birth," how can we deny people the means to travel to any country on the globe? Is it morally right that I, an "accidental citizen" of a first world country, have the financial means to go where I wish, but the global poor do not?

Obviously, the USA must agree to foot the bill for any impoverished person who wishes to come here. It's only fair.

Svigor said...

Indeed, most moral frameworks (libertarian, utilitarian, egalitarian, and others) strongly favor open borders or find it difficult to justify restrictions on freedom of movement. As a result, people who openly defend closed borders sound evil, even when they are simply defending what most people implicitly accept.

The obscure moral framework known as "reciprocity" (AKA, the golden rule) mandates closed borders. The people in Israel, China, and pretty much everywhere else slam the door in everyone's faces, so reciprocity demands that America's ruling elite not screw American citizens over by insisting they open the door to people from these places.

There's your moral argument, oh deliberately dense one.

What's utilitarian about encouraging grifting as national policy, btw? What's libertarian about national suicide? What's egalitarian about double-standards?

Average Joe said...

But the mainstream media is very sweet to me, and treats Steve like a pariah. I have to admit, it's bizarre.

It is not so bizarre when you remember which self-absorbed minority group controls much of the media in this country.

Anonymous said...

"But the mainstream media is very sweet to me, and treats Steve like a pariah. I have to admit, it's bizarre."

He knows it's not bizarre, anything but bizarre, which makes his "admission" repulsive.

Anonymous said...

Do any self-assessed moral philosophers start with evolutionary principles/sociobiology/etc., or does they all presume the only way to construct a model for the morally perfect society is by stemming off of 18th Century, pre-Darwinian metaphysicists?

Didn't you get the memo? Evolution stopped once humans developed consciousness. Sometimes I don't think that evolution's most ardent advocates really understand its' process. Yeah, they'll parrot the mantra that Natural Selection has no goals, but somehow or another the environment always selects for (and if it doesn't, it SHOULD) the Democratic Party Platform. It might be political correctness, but I think it is just a blind spot - a lack of self awareness. We listen too much to academics - they're worms, with survival agendas, just like the rest of us - they're just craftier at disguising their agendas and at creating a morality that thwarts yours.

Victor said...

"How can it be moral that through the mere accident of birth some people are imprisoned in countries where their political or geographic institutions prevent them from making a living?"

How can it be moral that through mere want of income poor people are imprisoned in bad neighborhoods? Maybe if Prof. Tabarrok were forced to share a neighborhood with the army of immigrants which would come to the U.S. under an open borders policy he would think differently.

If closed borders are evil, so are locked doors for the same cause. It is in the interest of every family and every nation to control who goes into our out of their property. The territory of the U.S. belongs to American citizens. Therefore American citizens have the right to restrict immigration as much as they like. I thought libertarians believed in property rights.

countenance said...

most moral frameworks (libertarian, utilitarian, egalitarian, and others) strongly favor open borders

Most ideological cults (libertarian, utilitarian, egalitarian and others) favor open borders because they explicitly reject the right of collectivist imperative to public policy.

Anonymous said...

Ask any one of these "genius", "aspie" open border advocates to paint a picture of the Nirvana that will unfold once 5 million Dalits swarm into Long Island.

Here is the image that comes to my mind - doesn't take too much imagination.

David said...

"The moral is the practical" is a quote from Ayn Rand (Alissa Rosenbaum).

Interesting how Tabarrok uses it to support an alleged moral imperative of self-sacrifice. Would their hero La Rand approve?

Forbert Pointer said...

"How can it be moral that through the mere accident of birth"

The open borders crowd loves this phrase, because it elicits sympathy and empathy. This is of course total BS. A couple questions for them:

1) How is a birth of biological being an accident? Who or what caused this "accident"?. Isn't his/her genes and existence the product thousands of years of evolution and what you might call instead, the verdict of history?
2) Where do you think countries came from, and do you think they are intrinsically evil?
3) Other Mammals are territorial and family based, do you not think that Humans are the same way?

Anonymous said...

Boy, talk about stunning irrelevance. For several years now I see that much of what I learned as a Philosophy major is bunk. The degree was in the mid-90s from a nothing school, but it's obvious little has changed.

All theories of human agency and will are divorced from evolutionary theory and as such are absolutely irrelevant. The question now, for moral, ethical and especially political philosophy, has to be which humans, given evolutionary divergences, are capable of exercising agency and will. If, on average, only some are capable, well . . . philosophy has to recognize that reality and adjust its modern theories of justice accordingly. We'd best brush off the dust from Hegel, Robert Knox and Gobineau.

Reg Cæsar said...

1) Alex Tabarrok should go back to hosting Jeopardy.

2) Milton Friedman agreed that moral arguments got things done faster than pragmatic ones. But he also made the argument that kills Tabarrok's (and Caplan's) on both pragmatic and moral grounds: you can't combine immigration with a welfare state.

Per Mitt Romney, anyone not earning in the top 53% is a mooch. But at least the native mooch can point to his relatives' sacrifices-- in money and in blood. What is the foreign mooch drawing on? His cheapskate employer's?

Reg Cæsar said...

…once 5 million Dalits swarm into Long Island.

Rosie O'Donnell. Eddie Murphy. Bill O'Reilly. Billy Joel. Alec Baldwin. Walter Hudson. Mariah Carey. Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco. Bob Costas. Harvey Milk. Debbie Gibson. Soledad O'Brien. Ron Jeremy. Don Rickles. Billy Crystal. Dee Snider.

I think it's too late! But, yeah, don't bring in any more.

Anonymous said...

Yes, since the children of bright parents are simply the result of a genetic roll of the dice, would this man exchange at birth his children for the children of some parents who fall to the left of the Bel Curve? If his argument holds water, all should be well--bright kids can grow up to help low IQ "parents" and raise their standard of living, and bright "parents" can raise the prospects of what are low IQ kids.

What's that??? Oh, yes, it's unnatural, you say, for adults to exchange their children. Wouldn't work, you say. That's true. There IS something called "natural" and something called "unatural." Yeah, forgot about biological similarities and cultural ones too.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think guys like this and most "journalists" havevalways been dweebs. It's their dweebery that makes them hate regular folks who happen to be their countrymen.

Anonymous said...

Am I a "hateful", "racist" bird because I don't want a cuckoo laying in my nest? Do birds, our living dinosaurs, have a maladaptive concept of property rights? Do all nests belong to every bird?

David said...

>I thought libertarians believed in property rights.<

Not when white gentiles are involved they don't. For example, it is settled doctrine among the new crop (such as Virginia Postrel) that the 1964 Civil Rights Act was a breakthrough victory for property rights - even though Ayn Rand called it "the worst violation of property rights in American history" (from her The Virtue of Selfishness).

These are people who boast of having been Freedom Riders in the 1960s, or admire them, and who wear MLK and Malcolm X tees.

They are nothing more than cultural Marxists who grok usury.

If they want to bring a million Mexicans into your town and destroy it, who are you to withstand their moral superiority, you rotten revisionist? - er, collectivist?

Anonymous said...

Is the modern PC-mad world trying to remake the conditions that led to the Thirty Years War? The Thirty Years War was one of the worst wars in Europe ever. At the end, the modern European nation-state was essentially invented as a way to reduce religious and ethnic conflict and hopefully keep the peace. The modern concept of the nation-state comes largely from the aftermath of the war, where the defined nations reflected a sense of natural mostly-ethnic divisions, independent of pan-ethnic religion or empire.

Why do we want to go back to the constant conflict of the bad old days? Did we forget it all?


"The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) was a series of wars principally fought in Central Europe, involving most of the countries of Europe. It was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history, and one of the longest continuous wars in modern history. ...

... most of the combatant powers were bankrupted. ..."


Perhaps there is a reason why forests consist of many trees, not one giant fungus:


"The edicts agreed upon during the signing of the Peace of Westphalia were instrumental in laying the foundations for what are even today considered the basic tenets of the sovereign nation-state. Aside from establishing fixed territorial boundaries for many of the countries involved in the ordeal (as well as for the newer ones created afterwards), the Peace of Westphalia changed the relationship of subjects to their rulers. In earlier times, people had tended to have overlapping political and religious loyalties. Now, it was agreed that the citizenry of a respective nation were subjected first and foremost to the laws and whims of their own respective government rather than to those of other entities, be they religious or secular."

I guess moral--high-ground PC is striving to become the new pan-religion in a pre-Thirty Years War type era, let's hope this doesn't end up as ugly.

Forbert Pointer said...

Reg Cæsar said:

"I think it's too late! But, yeah, don't bring in any more. "

You forgot Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern, Steve Buscemi, Lou Reed, The Stray Cats, and Blue Oyster Cult.

Jeff W. said...

Hypocrisy 1: Open borders for U.S.; a wall completely surrounding Israel.

Hypocrisy 2: Free trade for anyone who is a supplier to me; monopoly pricing, protected markets, and sweetheart government deals for me as a seller.

Big corporations argue that there should be free trade in labor. Corporations and workers should have the freedom to buy or sell labor anywhere in the world.

But U.S. Big Pharma, to cite one example, does not seem to like free trade in pharmaceuticals from the subcontinent. They have let loose their dogs from the FDA.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/15/world/asia/medicines-made-in-india-set-off-safety-worries.html?hpw&rref=world

Anonymous said...

The moral argument for open borders is powerful.


I've never seen the open borders lunatics make ANY arguments for open borders OTHER than "moral" ones. Which, given libertarians oft stated hatred of "imposing your morality on other people", is pretty comical if you think about it.

Their bizarre hypocrisy aside, there was a time when the concept of "freedom of association" meant something to libertarians. They used to defend restrictive deed arrangements designed to keep the "wrong sort of people" out of a neighborhood, for instance.

But that was before "libertarianism" became just another branch of international socialism. Cowen, Caplan, and Tabarrok are better understood as neo-communists.

Anonymous said...

most moral frameworks (libertarian, utilitarian, egalitarian, and others) strongly favor open borders


Most left-wing moral frameworks (libertarian, utilitarian, egalitarian, and others) strongly favor open borders.

Nice to see the "libertarians" admit that they're basically the same as the "egalitarians".

Anonymous said...

How can it be moral that through the mere accident of birth some people are imprisoned in countries where their political or geographic institutions prevent them from making a living?

Whenever White Americans argue that it is wrong for “affirmative action” programs to punish them for having white skin, they are vilified as “racist” and “blind to privilege.” If racial and ethnic groups do not have collective rights, than neither should they have collective responsibilities. And yet, open borders advocates are the first to argue for expansive affirmative action programs, historical reparations, disparate impact liability, and for the “deconstruction” of White cultures in the name of political correctness.

If race is a “mere accident of birth,” than why was I denied scholarships and promotion opportunities to compensate selected minorities for crimes committed by sociopathic WASPs while my ancestors were serfs in Eastern Europe? “How can it be moral that” Slavs – who are despised by the American media and ruling class – can have American “political. . . institutions prevent[ing] [us] from making a living” because of American crimes that neither we nor our ancestors had anything do with?

Mr. Anon said...

"The moral argument for open borders is powerful. How can it be moral that through the mere accident of birth some people are imprisoned in countries where their political or geographic institutions prevent them from making a living?"

Few phrases in common parlance are as stupid as "accident of birth". That Mexicans have mexican parents, or Nigerians nigerian parents, or Swedes swedish parents, is hardly an "accident"

Anonymous said...

Steve has a big advantage over the advertising-funded MSM. He doesn't have to paper-over (er, outright lie about) things so that nothing bad will contaminate the advertising message. The real world in proximity to the feely-ad? No way!

Anonymous said...

"I've never seen the open borders lunatics make ANY arguments for open borders OTHER than "moral" ones. Which, given libertarians oft stated hatred of "imposing your morality on other people", is pretty comical if you think about it."

Not true. They also make a hilarious utilitarian argument--open borders doubles world's GDP.

I wonder what the economic damage is from the refusal of the Courts to enforce restrictive covenants. People are regularly forced to live in artificially and pointlessly expensive areas (through zoning) in order to live with the kind of people they want to live with.

Anonymous said...

"In more recent times, civil unions have gone nowhere while equality of marriage has succeeded beyond all expectation. The problem with civil unions, and with the synthetic and marginalist approach more generally, is that even though it offers everyone something that they want, it concedes the moral high ground–perhaps there is something different about gay marriage which makes it ok to treat it differently–and for that reason it attracts few adherents. ... "

'gay marriage' had nothing to do with morality but with the power of propaganda and pageantry, as well with threatening those who didn't comply with economic punishment and legal attacks.

there was no moral argument.

Anonymous said...

I find I don't have much of any sense of co-citizen-ism in relation to Alex Tabarrok.

Anonymous said...

"The moral argument for open borders is powerful. How can it be moral that through the mere accident of birth some people are imprisoned in countries where their political or geographic institutions prevent them from making a living?"

Who imprisons them here? They are free to go back to the country of their ethnic origin along with their illegal parents. If anything, we want to set them free and leave this prison called the US. Please go.

How is open borders moral?
So, we should have 100 million Chinese come here, illegally overstay their visas, have kids, and be granted amnesty and citizenship? How can any nation survive such a policy?

Anonymous said...

"But the mainstream media is very sweet to me, and treats Steve like a pariah. I have to admit, it's bizarre."

'Mainstream media' are owned by the tiny elites. Nothing bizarre about it.

Reg Cæsar said...

You forgot Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern, Steve Buscemi, Lou Reed, The Stray Cats, and Blue Oyster Cult. --Forbert Pointer (as in Steve, and the sisters?)

I liked the Cats-- they were refreshing in the environment of 1981. Seinfeld's recent statements earned him a reprieve from my list. Reed was a slip; he came to mind but not to pen. (Though a guy who teases trannies in song can't be all bad.) BÖC almost made up for "Reaper" with "Godzilla".

The worst Long Islander is the one who let the best name in hockey slip away to California.

Reg Cæsar said...

That Mexicans have mexican parents, or Nigerians nigerian parents, or Swedes swedish parents, is hardly an "accident" --mr anon

…nor is the rule in English that proper adjectives are capitalized (or capitalised, if you prefer). Ask any Nigerian.

Let's leave the minuscularity to the Mexicans and Swedes.

Anonymous said...

The moral argument for open borders is powerful. How can it be moral that through the mere accident of birth some people are imprisoned in countries where their political or geographic institutions prevent them from making a living?

OK, then how can it be moral that through a mere accident of birth some people have poor or inattentive parents and are not allowed access to the institutions in society that would allow them to make a living?

How is it moral that a kid with wealthy parents is allowed into a fancy $40K/year, NYC private school when other kids with higher IQs, but poorer parents, are not? If we are going to have open borders where the natives are not favored because their status was only achieved through a lucky birth, then let's no longer allow private schools that favor those who also had a lucky birth. In fact all parental spending or favoritism upon one's own offspring should be illegal, and spending must be spread around equally to every kid in the community, nation, and the world.

Where does it stop?

Anonymous said...

Jessica Hahn

Anonymous said...

"Hypocrisy 1: Open borders for U.S.; a wall completely surrounding Israel."

This assumes that these libertarians support Israel's security, or support Israel at all. In fact, libertarians, whether Jewish or not, generally have little sympathy for Israel.

I'm continually amazed at the apparent unawareness of readers of this blog, and even of Steve himself, of the hostility of most American Jews - very few of whom are "neocons" - to the current Israeli government.

Maxwell Power said...

For a libertarian he sounds kinda Stalinist

Stevebot 2.0 said...

continually amazed at the apparent unawareness of readers of this blog, and even of Steve himself, of the hostility of most American Jews - very few of whom are "neocons" - to the current Israeli government

Hey, those coincidental Jews are merely "the exception that proves the rule"

Anonymous said...

"The wind is at the back of open borders".
Literally, one might assume, since Tyler Cowan insists that a bean based diet is a necessary concomitant of a future oopne borders USA.

Anonymous said...

When you hear this utterly crap and fallacious argument that 'it is immoral to trap people in failed states in which they can't make a living' I always think of the original English settlers who founded the USA back in the 1600s.
Basically they had nothing arart from their wits and iron hand tools between them and starvation plus the fact that overwhelming hostile forces - the Indians - wanted to kill them. All the wealth, knowledge, manpower, armies, spohisticated trades and specialists were thousnads of miles away across storm tossed seas in England. And yet they thrived - due only to their own efforts. Compared to them the governments and peoples of modern 'failed states' are blessed by the gods access to markets, capital, sophisticated machinery and transport etc are only an email away. In this case 'failed state' must be a euphemism for 'failed people'.

Also I find this 'accident of birth' mawkish nonsense to be a load of crap too. It's only an 'accident of birth' that separates Prince Charles from the man in the council flat - and for an infinte number of cases. Big f*cking deal, most of us learned to live with that when we reached the age of seven.

Anonymous said...

Re: "I'm continually amazed at the apparent unawareness of readers of this blog, and even of Steve himself, of the hostility of most American Jews - very few of whom are "neocons" - to the current Israeli government."

Oh come on. Yeah I'm sure the current Israeli government of Benny NutandYahoo is something of an embarrassment to many American Jews.

But most American Jews strongly support Israel remaining an ethno-religious state by any means necessary.

But do they accord White Christian America the same right?

Oy Vey!

wind power, bandwidth, Chinese market said...

"NutandYahoo?" Wow, did you coin that one? Check with the "Stupor Bowl" coiner first--he coins so much.

The Dude said...

"Fun Bryan Caplan fact: he has 4 kids. I don't really know what to make of this. Granted, his Cromartie Index is still quite low, but..."

Ayelet Waldman, Obama's classmate, was a similar arch-feminist rabble rouser at HLS. "Oppression of women", "careers", "glass ceilings" and the like. Big talker in class.

After a brief career as a public defender in LA, she married a novelist, popped out four kids and writes Mommy Detective novels from a bungalow in LA.

She worships the ground her husband walks on.

The Caplans and Waldmans trot out this revolutionary stuff for the masses but avoid the mental infection themselves in their own lives. Strange phenomenon.

ben tillman said...

Do any self-assessed moral philosophers start with evolutionary principles/sociobiology/etc. ...

I do, and it turns out you can get most of the answers from David Sloan Wilson's work.

Anonymous said...

Don'tcha just love how the open border crowd are those who also consider themselves scientifically literate, yet show themselves to be entirely ignorant of what science knows about the outcomes of being closely related ? And that no, homo sapiens do NOT, mostly cannot be like the gods and rise above biological proscripions.

Anonymous said...

Now they want to export our oil surplus for the sake of destabilizing countries within Russia's sphere of influence.

http://t.co/4c7dCcNbjE

Keep the oil in the US and create jobs?

Nah, let's export it to make oil executives even richer, further destabilize the middle class, and, as a bonus, poke Russia in the eye!

Art Deco said...

But most American Jews strongly support Israel remaining an ethno-religious state by any means necessary.

But do they accord White Christian America the same right?


The stupid anti-semites who post here keep confounding rank-and-file Jews with Leon Wieseltier (who actually is an obnoxiously ethno-centric man whose viewpoint is about as you describe) and with tiresome and insulated bourgeois like Bryan Caplan (who does not appear to understand ordinary human affinity, in part because he either experiences none or experiences it only with people of his class and subculture). There's no point to that, and it's malicious.

ben tillman said...

Most left-wing moral frameworks (libertarian, utilitarian, egalitarian, and others) strongly favor open borders.

No, they don't. Utilitarianism demands closed borders. It's only by ignoring future utility (and future persons) that a utilitarian can attempt to make a case for open borders.

If utilitarianism seeks the greatest good for the greatest number, than it cannot countenance a framework that subsidizes those who produce less in the way of goods at the expense of those who produce more in the way of goods. Axiomatically, such an arrangement will produce ever fewer units of goods, meaning less utility. Open borders, of course, is precisely the type of anti-productive subsidy that destroys utility in the long run.

Willis said...

If you believe in 1) private property; if you believe 2) that you have the right to raise your own children instead of someone else's (as someone mentioned above); and if you believe in 3) democracy, then you can't justify a belief in open borders.

Nations rely on civic capital, which actually helps to increase production. Public goods aren't produced when a nation is nothing more than a giant flea market.

The US government owns and manages tens of trillions of dollars in assets on behalf of its CITIZENS. This is no different than private property, and to say we should give it away to anyone who wants to move here amounts to saying you don't believe in private property. It amounts to theft.

Democracy cannot function when there is no restriction on who comes and goes, especially when you hand out citizenship as promiscuously as the United States.

Willis said...

How is 50 million Chinese arriving unarmed, dressed in civilian clothes functionally all that different from 50 million Chinese arriving as part of an army?

Either one is an invasion, and the attempts by Caplan and other neofeudalists to pretend otherwise only makes them look stupid.

Anonymous said...

I was born to my parents instead of to Bill Gates or one of the Pritzkers only via an "accident of birth." So should the Pritzkers not have the right to leave their money to their own children rather than to me?

Anonymous said...

In fact, libertarians, whether Jewish or not, generally have little sympathy for Israel.


I've never seen libertarians, Jewish or not, say anything about Israel. It seems not to exist at all in their minds. So I don't see on what basis you think that they have "little sympathy" for it.

Can you cite Caplan or Cowen expressing hostility to Israels incredibly strict immigration policies? I doubt if you can. I've seen libertarians whining about Japan's immigration policy not being open enough, but they have a blind spot where Israel is concerned. Whether that is due to pro-Israel sentiment or simply to fear of what happens to to people in America who criticize Israel is a open question.

Anonymous said...

They also make a hilarious utilitarian argument--open borders doubles world's GDP.


But the assumption that doubling the worlds GDP is a good thing is a moral assumption.

Anonymous said...

How is it moral that through a mere accident of birth some people are able to get a Ph.d in economics and become tenured professors who are guaranteed a high paying job for life?

Modern "Libertarians" are limousine liberals, people of immense wealth and privilege themselves who want to raise the worlds poor not at their own expense, but at the expense of poor and middle class Americans.

What Caplan, Cowen and their ilk are arguing for is nothing more or less than global socialism, redistributing wealth from the well off in the West (excluding themselves, of course) to the poor in the Third World.

C. Van Carter said...

How can it be moral that through the mere accident of birth some people are not allowed to play with Bryan Caplan's extensive collection of Star Wars action figures?

C. Van Carter said...

Marginal costs and demand curves must have got boring so they've turned to sophomoric moral and political arguments that ignore human differences and assume a functioning system of law and property rights.

Hunsdon said...

Maxwell Power said: For a libertarian he sounds kinda Stalinist.

Hunsdon said: In all fairness to Uncle Joe, he wanted "socialism in one country" compared to Trotsky's permanent revolution, socialism everywhere.

Discard said...

Anon at 1:02 AM: Exactly so. To the north, there is the prosperous, law-abiding nation of Canada. To the south is the impoverished, lawless nation of Mexico. Both have long had access to the investment capital and technology of the U.S., but only one has used it wisely. If one of the two has failed, it's their own fault, not ours.

Old Odd Jobs said...

Caplan happily acknowledges that his position is the esoteric one, and isteve readers jump on his neck. Give the guy a break ffs

Anonymous said...

Moronic morality: morolity.

Anonymous said...

"In all fairness to Uncle Joe, he wanted "socialism in one country" compared to Trotsky's permanent revolution, socialism everywhere."

Somebody missed the whole thing about taking over eastern and central Europe, launching a war of aggression in Korea and installing a Communist government in China.

Anonymous said...

"f we are going to have open borders where the natives are not favored because their status was only achieved through a lucky birth, then let's no longer allow private schools that favor those who also had a lucky birth."

All these Somalis should be able to move into Trump Tower ?

I think I'll move into Steven Spielberg's house in California.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 1:24 PM said: Somebody missed the whole thing about taking over eastern and central Europe, launching a war of aggression in Korea and installing a Communist government in China.

Hunsdon said: Actually, I didn't. Even if we posit your examples, I would argue that they were more a matter of taking what was given and trying to secure buffer zones, vice promoting true worldwide socialism.

Besides, the earliest of the events you cite took place twenty years after the debate I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...

"Somebody missed the whole thing about taking over eastern and central Europe..."

By the time the Soviet Union took over Eastern Europe, it was Communist in name only. The West was already then and is still run by the heirs of original Communism though. Stalin's most important connection to real Communism's leaders was having jailed and executed some in 1937.

Anonymous said...

"The problem with civil unions, and with the synthetic and marginalist approach more generally, is that even though it offers everyone something that they want, it concedes the moral high ground–perhaps there is something different about gay marriage which makes it ok to treat it differently–and for that reason it attracts few adherents. ... "

Kind of OT, but if it wasn't for the War On Noticing, that wouldn't be a very difficult case to make at all.

Ask straight people and most lesbians what "marriage" means to them, and one of the things you'll typically hear is "monogamy".

Well, gay men are never, going to be monogamous. I don't care how "married" they claim to be. They just aren't.

So, yes. Gay marriage, at least among gay men, is something very different in kind than marriage among straight couples.

If you accept gay marriages as the equal of real marriages, then you simply have to knock out one of the most important parts of the standard definition of "marriage".

Now, this may be a good thing, a bad thing, or a neutral thing, but I don't think it's at all unreasonable for people to resist changing the definition of such an important concept to spare the feelings of a few people.

The funny thing is, I don't think I've ever heard anyone in the media (even the conservative media) make this point. But if you ask people, a lot of them do implicitly realize it.

Anonymous said...

"How is 50 million Chinese arriving unarmed, dressed in civilian clothes functionally all that different from 50 million Chinese arriving as part of an army?

Either one is an invasion, and the attempts by Caplan and other neofeudalists to pretend otherwise only makes them look stupid."

Is it stupid, or is it a plan? It is working, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

"Hunsdon said: Actually, I didn't. Even if we posit your examples, I would argue that they were more a matter of taking what was given and trying to secure buffer zones, vice promoting true worldwide socialism.

Besides, the earliest of the events you cite took place twenty years after the debate I'm talking about."

Stalin's socialism in one country policy was a matter of pragmatism, not ideology. Once it became pragmatic to abandon it, he did.

The idea that communist expansionism in Asia had anything to do with buffer zones is bizarre. Was America going to invade the depths of Siberia? Was China?

"By the time the Soviet Union took over Eastern Europe, it was Communist in name only."

Entirely ahistorical. The state owned all the means of production under Stalin. That remained the case until Gorbachev. Income inequality was very low, even under the Brezhnev stagnation years. It's quite curious to see supposed rights repeat the old 1968 leftie arguments about 'true communism.'

Anonymous said...

"I don't think I've ever heard anyone in the media (even the conservative media) make this point."

Now that they won WWG, they can feel free to make this point.

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/06/the-gay-guide-to-wedded-bliss/309317/?single_page=true

"The question of whether gays and lesbians will change marriage, or vice versa, is at its thorniest around sex and monogamy. Private behavior could well stay private: when she studied marriage in the Netherlands, Lee Badgett, the University of Massachusetts economist, found that while many same-sex couples proselytize about the egalitarianism of their relationships, they don’t tend to promote non-monogamy, even if they practice it. Then again, some gay-rights advocates, like the writer and sex columnist Dan Savage, argue very publicly that insisting on monogamy can do a couple more harm than good. Savage, who questions whether most humans are cut out for decades of sex with only one person, told me that “monogamy in marriage has been a disaster for straight couples” because it has set unrealistic expectations. “Gay-male couples are much more likely to be realistic about what men are,” he said. Savage’s own marriage started out monogamous; the agreement was that if either partner cheated, this would be grounds for ending the relationship. But when he and his husband decided to adopt a child, Savage suggested that they relax their zero-tolerance policy on infidelity. He felt that risking family dissolution over such an incident no longer made sense. His husband later suggested they explicitly allow each other occasional dalliances, a policy Savage sees as providing a safety valve for the relationship. If society wants marriage to be more resilient, he argues, we must make it more “monagamish.”"


What a world we live in.

Hunsdon said...

Anonydroid at 11:38 PM said: The idea that communist expansionism in Asia had anything to do with buffer zones is bizarre. Was America going to invade the depths of Siberia? Was China?

Hunsdon said: It's a bizarre old world we live in. I hate to unearth hoary old tropes, but the Russians have a long memory of the Tatar yoke.

Anonymous said...

George Will's unrealistic new opinion piece: "Why immigration reform matters".

H/T: RealClearPolitics

-meh

Anonymous said...

Lib Dorks on Lena Dunham.

http://tsutpen.blogspot.com/2014/02/illusion-travels-by-streetcar-2.html

Bill said...


I'm continually amazed at the apparent unawareness of readers of this blog, and even of Steve himself, of the hostility of most American Jews - very few of whom are "neocons" - to the current Israeli government.

When American Jews got incensed about the (largely imaginary) ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, humanitarian bombing promptly ensued. When will humanitarian bombing of Israel ensue?

Mr. Anon said...

"The Dude said...

The Caplans and Waldmans trot out this revolutionary stuff for the masses but avoid the mental infection themselves in their own lives. Strange phenomenon."

Yeah......strange. What's good for the goose is not good for the, goyim, or something. By the way, This "literary" power couple were last seen working with HBO to develop a TV show:

"Writers Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, who are married and have four children, are at work on their first authorial collaboration: a project for HBO. It's in the very early stages of development, Variety reports, and will be called, tentatively, "Hobgoblin." Variety describes it as "an offbeat drama project ... that revolves around a motley group of conmen and magicians who use their skills at deception to battle Hitler and his forces during WW II." Which sounds sort of like "Inglorious Basterds" with less gore and more magic."

Because we can never,.....never......never!........have enough new (and entirely fictional) accounts of how we (that is to say, someone, not necessarily "we") beat those evil Germans. WWII was the most important event in history, and we must constantly be reminded of it, and especially how it affected one particular group of people.

The ethnic triumphalism and cultural cuckoldry practiced by members of one particular tribe is becoming quite remarkably brazen and shameless.

Dan said...

Israel is Rand's blind spot.

It's a huge blind spot for the left and the right of the Multicult.

LL said...

1-people have a moral right to education, health care, food and shelter, no matter where they come from.

2-People have a moral right to go anywhere they please, and once there get moral right No 1.

3-So if 50 million Nigerians want to come to the USA, we can't stop them, morally.


I feel that the "moral" arguments for Open Borders are just a defense of entropy. It's not moral for one group of people to live better than another group of people because of the "accident of their birth," so we have to open up all the borders so that we and 50 million Nigerians can enjoy the same horrible standard of living. It's only fair.

Americans in particular want to have their cake and eat it, too. They certainly don't want their country "invaded" by Latin American immigration. But when a citizenist articulately justifies their anxiety, the typical American feels like the citizenist is too racist to acknowledge, much less endorse. - from Caplan's post

It's probably been said on here before, but convincing larger swaths of the population that it's ok to Notice things will go a long way towards increasing popular support for Citizenist policies. Florida seems to be going in that direction.

Anonymous said...

It's quite curious to see supposed rights repeat the old 1968 leftie arguments about 'true communism.'


What makes you think that everyone who comments here is a "supposed rightie"?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous:"George Will's unrealistic new opinion piece: "Why immigration reform matters".

H/T: RealClearPolitics

-meh"

The key thing to bear in mind when reading Will is that he began as a libertarian back in his college days, which means that he is a fool.

Anonymous said...

Mr anon:"Yeah......strange. What's good for the goose is not good for the, goyim, or something."

Standard SWPL stuff. Upper-middle class White Gentile liberals follow the same line, advocating libertine standards while leading highly conservative lifestyles (E.g., most of the White Gentile married couples that I know have 1950s style marriages, with stay at home Moms; working mothers are very prole).

Anonymous said...

"When American Jews got incensed about the (largely imaginary) ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, humanitarian bombing promptly ensued."

Rank-and-file Israeli Jews thought that America was insane to intervene on behalf of Moslems against Christians. As Netanyahu's Foreign Minister, Ariel Sharon vocally supported Milosevic.
http://balkanwitness.glypx.com/Fisk.htm

Anonymous said...

George Will's unrealistic new opinion piece: "Why immigration reform matters".


I have more respect for limousine libertarians like Caplan who argue that we need to open the borders for the good of poor people outside America then I do for the inane babbling of Will, who still clings to the deranged fantasy that if we only are optimistic enough, somehow we can have open borders and a rising standard of living.

Caplan and crew are at least honest enough to admit that open borders will make Americans worse off ... they just see that as a worthwhile trade-off.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Standard SWPL stuff."

Yes, but to whom does that standard SWPL stuff ultimately end up being a disservice?

Anonymous said...

Mr Anon:"Yes, but to whom does that standard SWPL stuff ultimately end up being a disservice?"

The proles.

24AheadDotCom said...

Even if Caplan or Tabarrok see the comments here, are they going to be concerned? Are any of their readers going to find the comments here and change their minds?

In order to have an impact, people have to take the argument to them and undercut them to their readers.

For a tangible example, a Bloomberg author recently quoted Caplan. I then started this conversation with him. He hasn't and probably won't respond. But, once every day or three I'll look up who he chats with on Twitter, and send them that link. If a few dozen people did things like that on a regular basis, people like him would at least think twice before hyping Caplan.

Anonymous said...

24Ahead

You're a good man.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Mr Anon: ""Yes, but to whom does that standard SWPL stuff ultimately end up being a disservice?""

The proles."

My point - not a lot of Chabons and Waldmanns among the proletariat.

Anonymous said...



Art Deco said...

"The stupid anti-semites who post here keep confounding rank-and-file Jews with Leon Wieseltier (who actually is an obnoxiously ethno-centric man whose viewpoint is about as you describe) and with tiresome and insulated bourgeois like Bryan Caplan (who does not appear to understand ordinary human affinity, in part because he either experiences none or experiences it only with people of his class and subculture). There's no point to that, and it's malicious."

So you're saying most American Jews don't support Israel and have no problem with the U.S. remaining a white Christian nation?

OK.....

Anonymous said...



Mr Anon:"My point - not a lot of Chabons and Waldmanns among the proletariat."

Well, yeah. White Ashkenazi Jews are a high performing group. In contrast, to say, Blacks, who are heavily prole.

Jonathan Silber said...

If the great captains of industry in America cannot continue to make a go of it without the help of foreign workers, let them move their businesses to the foreign land of their choice, where they can hire whomever they please.

What great loss, for example, would it be to Americans if Zuckerberg operated Facebook out of, say, India, or the Phillipines? He could even do
so on the sly, and what user of his service,
solely from their experience of it, would realize what he'd done?

And for customer service over the phone intelligible to his American users, he could outsource a call center back here.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.



riches said...

Mr.Anon astutely noted "WWII was the most important event in history, and we must constantly be reminded of it."

To be precise: That European Theater was awesome but that Pacific stuff, not so much!

Anonymous said...

I must have missed that part of the Bible about allowing your country to be invaded by anybody who wants to do so. I guess atheist Caplan can tell us where he found that.

It worked well for the Caannanites.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Anon astutely noted "WWII was the most important event in history, and we must constantly be reminded of it."

riches:"To be precise: That European Theater was awesome but that Pacific stuff, not so much!"

Steven Spielberg's father and uncle (veterans of the Pacific Theatre in WW2)disliked the lack of attention given to the Pacific Theatre:

Steven Spielberg:" When Tom Hanks and I first decided to adapt Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers into a miniseries, I remember thinking at the time that it would also be great to pay tribute to the veterans of the Pacific theatre of operations. My father and my uncle, who both fought in the Pacific, had the same idea, and after Saving Private Ryan came out and Band of Brothers played on HBO, they asked, What about the boys on the other side of the Atlantic? You're celebrating all those guys from Europe! We did something too! We also got many letters from veterans congratulating us on those projects, but asking for recognition for their efforts, too. Veterans from Peleliu, Pavuvu, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Iwo Jima, the Solomons, Wake Island, Midway. " (http://tvnz.co.nz/the-pacific/interview-steven-spielberg-3403539)

Anonymous said...

The stupid anti-semites who post here keep confounding rank-and-file Jews with Leon Wieseltier


You might as well have written that "The stupid racists who post here keep confounding rank-and-file blacks with Barack Obama and don't know about Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell".

It's true that not all American Jews are open-borders-loving anti-white leftists but an awful lot of them, I'd say more than half of them, certainly are. (Even though I personally know some Jews who lean the opposite way) And if you're Jewish yourself you know the truth of that.