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Emigration From Consistency πŸ”— 1440954626  

TL;DR - If you think that libertarians should be pursuing second best solutions, expect controversial, preference laced conclusions.


I'd like to comment upon a recent article I came across thanks to the Bad Quaker and the Freedom Feens. Here is the article in question; it regards Hoppe's controversial take on Immigration being a form of "Forced Integration".

From my reading of Hoppe, I'd say Nico is actually in violent agreement with him, except as it regards Nico's personal preference. I've noticed many get the impression Nico did here from reading Hoppe, so I can't say I'm really surprised to see this. Really, to me that sounds like it needs explanation from Murphy in 'plain' english for most to understand Hoppe's writing. The same thing has been said at various points about Mises, especially as it regards Human Action.

Hoppe's position to me seemed to be that:
Given societies with welfare states, free immigration doesn't increase the freedom of people in that nation, just as having 'squatters' on your land doesn't increase the property owner's freedom. Taxpayers in welfare states understand why this is so, though immigration is not the root cause (as the 'tea party' might posit), the welfare state is. Furthermore, in a free society, if you didn't want people on your property it is your right to exclude them from it. Nowhere in Hoppe's writing does he say you should bar them from your property -- indeed, as Nico suggests, some property owners would likely build roads and allow free passage, as it would benefit them to do so. Hoppe, of course, would also advocate for the abolition of the welfare state. Indeed, without one, free immigration wouldn't even be a problem as there isn't any 'free riders' (something Hoppe lists as an unassailable argument in the beginning of his article).

This, however, is not the context in which Hoppe is speaking about what the 'libertarian' position should be on immigration. Instead, in the insane world of modern democracies, basically the choice is between unconditionally raising taxes in response to free immigration in order to pay for immigrants who wish to partake of the welfare state (to not trample as much on the 'right' to travel) OR restrict immigration so that the poor taxpayers aren't raped as badly by the taxman (to not trample as much on the slaves' 'right' to property). Note here that I say as much, as in all welfare states, there's inevitably going to be ostensibly 'public' places where the public is not actually allowed to go, and because the taxpayer is always screwed, the only question is "to what degree?"

Thus, Hoppe comes down on the side of the taxpayer, as any 'right' to travel on anything other than your own property implies the violation of others' property rights, which is what the NAP stems from -- I own me (and thus the fruits of my labor), right? Still, I can't say I'm surprised Nico doesn't get this, as in another article I find him defending intellectual property thusly:

Since intellectual property always needs a medium, the intellectual property owner effectively has the right to control to some degree how people use their physical property.
Say what? Wishing for people to employ ideas how you wish them is an unrealistic assumption at best. Indeed, he even defeats himself by repeating the idea that "the Medium is the Message;" this implies that your intellectual property wasn't the property at all -- it was the medium. Much better libertarian defences of intellectual property exist, some even note the consequences of scarcity (or lack thereof) on this property.

In any event, just as with all 'second best' solutions under the state, any 'solutions' to the immigration 'problem' stomp on somebody's liberty. The actual flip side of Hoppe's argument is that it would require a police state to restrict immigration in a Welfare state, as many will predictably want to partake when someone is giving out free goodies. Your personal preference then determines what the 'libertarian' position should be. That is pretty much the central catch 22 for all liberty 'activists' in the USA, which is why I am not one. Sure, I'll advocate for abandoning the execution of actions which lead to increased privation all day, but I am not everybody. I hold out no hope for liberty in anyone's lifetime other than that which they make happen for themselves. Whether or not they do it at the expense of others is their choice, and a choice the stoics know all too well the rewards of.

There's nothing logically inconsistent with that, other than perhaps not acknowledging, ultimately, that there is no good solution under certain systems, so personal preference is the best you'll get there. Hoppe's essay is suffused with acknowledgement of this, though he is likely wrong regarding assignment of this preference to society at large, as is noted in Nico's commentary regarding whether most would prefer Hoppe's imperfect solution. The fact that there is so much controversy still in the USA regarding immigration suggests there is no real consensus on the issue, though I understand Hoppe standing on the side of the taxpayer in a welfare state.

Really, this is just another manifestation of the 'thick' versus 'thin' libertarian debate, though most self-described 'thin' libertarians probably aren't actually very 'thin' in their personal preferences, whether it be Hoppe, "Robert Wenzel", "Bionic Mosquito", Chris Cantwell or Ben Stone. I know I'm not. Hoppe is merely willing to state his preferences openly in his works, which is why Hoppe has been consistently good at providing trolling material for use either to attack or defend anarcho-capitalism.

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