Here is a respectable and well-reasoned article by Jim Davies on the open borders issue that replies to an article of mine.
This is a counterpoint to Mike Rozeff’s well-reasoned 3/6 LRC article that opposes open borders on the grounds that they would make America less libertarian and even “destroy the country.” My main criticism of that piece is that he did not make explicit his assumption that for the foreseeable future, America will continue to have cities, states, policing, education [sic], welfare, disease control, rodent control, proper housing, traffic control and even taxes – all furnished or imposed by government.
All those functions he mentions, but nowhere suggests that they might soon or even eventually be abolished or removed from government hands. And on that unspoken premise, I’d have a hard time opposing his conclusion that open borders would make matters even worse.
My premise is quite different, and I would hope that LRC might share it, since at its masthead appears its claim to be “anti-state”; my position is that all of those ten, named attributes of America can and will quite shortly be removed from government hands, and that to do it yesterday would be by no means too soon. Being “anti-state”, I favor a zero government, anarchist society at the earliest possible moment, and think that no task is more important than obtaining one.
Assuming then that government no longer exists, should borders be open? – of course they should, for a border is an obstacle in the path of human beings who wish to live in a location of their choice. Indeed, the only “borders” that could exist in such a free society would be those enclosing private property – and there could be no other property other than the private kind; there is none today, even, for the state’s claim to “own” land is entirely bogus, as is Prof. Hoppe’s contention that government land is somehow owned by taxpayers – which rests on the deeply mistaken view that the payment of a tax is ever a contractual exchange for some benefit. So, government borders are merely lines of authoritarian enforcement.
Property owners may well exclude migrants from their land, but some will not so choose. For example, owners of roads will on the contrary welcome visitors from any direction, as valued customers – assuming that they pay the toll with real money. Accordingly, in the coming zero government society, access will not be denied to any who wish to come, and spend their gold or offer their labor in the market. The “borders”, if they can be imagined to exist, will certainly be open.
Prof. Rozeff also reasons that “open borders will have a negative impact on the country’s politics and political system, moving it to a less libertarian position.” Again, perhaps they would; but again, his premise is that the country’s political system is permanent. I disagree. A “political system” of any kind is an abomination, an outright denial of the market, which it expressly distorts or destroys; when government has been abolished there will be no “political system” whatever.
What remains is the key question, so often posed in Maine, of how to get from here to there. For example, would opening the borders today help or hinder the abolition of government? Prof. Rozeff says it would hinder, and makes a strong case. There is one contrary argument: that a flood of immigrants in search of welfare (if that is why most of them come) would overwhelm the government’s schemes for robbing Peter to pay Paul, and therefore usefully help bankrupt the whole edifice. That’s an argument worth weighing; it does depend on the assumption I just italicized. If in truth they are coming only to offer their labor at attractive prices, then no such collapse would be triggered. More data required.
Opening the borders at once might, then, or might not advance the libertarian cause – but in any case would not at all suffice on its own. The way to bring about a zero-government society is, rather, to persuade everyone not to work for government. I alluded to that in my LRC article The Fix, and one of the tools available to bring about that revulsion is what I call the QuitGov site, here. It shows that all government work is dishonest and proves that by comparing it to working for the Mafia, and then details why a couple of dozen specific government jobs are dishonest.
When nobody will work for it, government will have vanished.