Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Truth About ''Immigration''

From The Libertarian Enterprise, 9-21-2014

Basically, it's just some of my recent blogs, combined into one piece, submitted to TLE after Cathy Smith asked for submissions on the subject.



  1. I have a bit of a problem with borders. It's the same problem I have with states really, just framed in a slightly different way.

    Whoever is reading this, as a thought experiment pretend that the area where you live manages to peacefully throw off the shackles of whatever state currently claims the it and manages to go it alone. No government, no arbitrary prohibitions codified as "law", nothing but the ZAP restraining people's behaviour.

    The problem is that other states still exist. States do not recognise countries. They don't recognise linguistic or ethnic groupings and they certainly don't recognise private property. States only recognise other states. To qualify as a state under their rules, you need a defined area of territory (so a stable border), a permanent population and something recognisable as a government. They may choose not recognise you even if you do have those things, but without them they definitely won't... and in their eyes, that makes you fair game.

    Essentially this is a problem of realpolitik. If you lack a stable border and an entity recognisable as a government, other states have the legal pretext they need to come brewing over the hill in force to "restore order" to your neck of the woods.

    This is why, although I'm philosophically an anarchist, in practice I tend towards the minarchist point of view. With a minarchy you stand a good chance of getting what you paid for, at least for a while. With an anarchy I think there's a good chance you'll wake up one morning to find yourself living in exactly the circumstances you wanted to get away from.

    Yes, if your anarchy was sufficiently mature, civil society would probably have the necessary organs in place to make a good fight of it. Organised citizen militias, properly equipped. Security companies with a military capability, employed by local communities. You can probably think up others. Collective defence is possible in the absence of a government-sponsored force. The problem is getting that far in the first place. An immature anarchy would likely be ill-equipped to defend itself against a professional, state-controlled military.

    I'm not sure how to solve this problem.

    1. Please note that in the above I'm only commenting on the problem of aggression by neighbouring states.

      Governments like to control borders for all sorts of reasons. Controlling who can come and go is one of them, and the spectre of infiltration by criminal gangs or terror organisations is commonly raised as an excuse.

      In general I think that these things would be a non-issue in any functioning anarchy, since the populace would be armed and taking care of its own security, either personally or through contracts with private companies offering security services. Would some get through? Certainly, but since they do that now with the whole might of the state set against them, I don't see it making a lot of difference. In the absence of government welfare the argument that migrants will exploit the system and live at the taxpayer's expense become moot, and in the absence of a minimum wage law the idea that they're somehow "taking our jobs" becomes ridiculous.

      Governments also like to control the flow of goods, taxing some and requiring permission for others. In an anarchy where the ZAP is law, this wouldn't even be legal.

    2. Seems to me your first comment is more of an indictment of States than anything else. Those who refuse to respect borders are trespassers- but States' "borders" are a violation of real borders/property lines. There will always be bad guys you will need to find a way to deal with.

      Plus, I'm kind of wondering how that's worse than where we are. I have my property lines (my legitimate borders), which the State, on every level, ignores when convenient.

  2. As I said, it's essentially a re-statement of the more general problem I have with states. To whit, they may be basically a protection racket writ large, but because of that you can't ignore them and hope they'll leave you alone. You've got to deal with them somehow, like it or not.

    It's perhaps no worse than where we are now (although if your town/county/state tried to declare independence and ended up on the losing side of a shooting war, it most definitely would be) but it's no better either. In fact, it's *exactly* where we are now, and that's the problem: how to engineer a better, freer situation without one state or another immediately taking the opportunity to undo all your good work.

    Of course, I'm assuming independence achieved through peaceful means. If, on the other hand, you manage to throw off one state by means of violence, you may already have the means to resist incursions by others. The problem there is that very few revolutions-by-violence have ever resulted in greater liberty once the dust has settled. The American one seems to be unique in that respect (although I'd be happy to be corrected). In most cases, the biggest bunch of bastards or the most popular demagogue seem to carry the day.