A Response to Ed Mazlish’s Call for Ideological Screening of Immigrants

UPDATE: Thanks to Stuart and Ed for participating in a live discussion of this issue on my show! Those of you who missed it can catch the recorded podcast here.

Over at Rule of Reason, Ed Mazlish published a piece in which he argues against what he sees as the “Open Immigration” policies of leading Objectivist intellectuals, and proposes what he sees as a proper immigration policy, one flowing from Objectivist principles.

I think he makes a few errors in that piece, and I’d like to explain these briefly, while clarifying my own position for my listeners and readers.

In the second paragraph of his piece, Mazlish writes:

Since the early days of the American republic, Federal law has contained the ideological requirement that prospective immigrants swear to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States before becoming citizens.

Is this an ideological requirement, or simply a requirement that citizens promise to act to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States? I take it as the latter, and I don’t even see how you could screen for ideology, apart from action. This is the same reason I disagree with Mazlish’s interpretation of Biddle’s position. Mazlish writes:

Biddle [argues] that “all rights respecting individuals should be allowed entry.” But how does he know which prospective immigrant is “rights respecting” and which is not, when he is opposed, *on principle*, to any kind of ideological screening prior to entry? Of course, he cannot know that – he simply takes it as an article of faith that anyone appearing at the border must be presumed to be rights respecting and that an ideological screening represents the wrongful use of government force.

This is an unfair interpretation of Biddle’s position. Why would anyone in their right mind assume that “anyone appearing at the border” is rights respecting? I take Biddle to be advocating some form of background check, to make sure that the person appearing at the border has a track record of acting in a way consistent with being rights respecting. We cannot be, nor should we try to be, mind readers here. We can judge prospective immigrants only by the way in which they act.

In addition, I think Mazlish wrongly applies Peter Schwartz’s views about libertarianism to the issue of formulating a proper immigration policy. The refusal to agree with the policy of ideological screening for immigrants does not make one a context-dropping libertarian. And it does not mean that you think the ideas that immigrants hold are unimportant. It simply means that you believe government is limited in what it can properly do about the ideas that immigrants hold.

I agree with Mazlish that the creation and maintenance of a proper government depends on at least a significant, influential minority holding the right ideas. However, this does not mean that a proper government can use force to maintain ideological consensus. A proper government enforces objective laws which describe the acts people do (or refrain from doing) which violate others’ rights. Why should immigration law be any different? How is an ideological screening of immigrants any different, in principle, from prosecuting “hate crimes”?

Incidentally, Mazlish doesn’t say exactly how this ideological screening should be conducted; he only talks about what sort of ideology we should screen for. Do prospective immigrants take a test? If so, what would ever prevent them from lying on the exam?

Finally, Mazlish recommends conducting the ideological screening, not only for citizenship, but also as a prerequisite for people living and working here. Would he similarly support stripping voting rights/citizenship from those citizens who exercise their free will and adopt the wrong ideas? Maybe we should go ahead and deport them, too?

What I would propose, in broad outline:

First, of course, we need to eliminate the welfare state–or at least not make welfare or other “public assistance” available to immigrants. Conducting a proper war against Jihad would help to create the right context for a proper immigration policy as well. [UPDATE:] Also, importantly, I would legalize discrimination by employers, landlords, property owners, etc. In a proper society, we would not be forced to transact business with people who do not share our values. We may choose to, at least in certain contexts, but we would not be forced to in any context.

Then any prospective immigrant must, at his own expense (or at the expense of his prospective employer), undergo screening for infectious diseases, criminal background, or any other history that shows the prospective immigrant is not rights respecting. In this last category, I would include membership in or support of any group that advocates using violence, other than in self-defense–including advocating the violent overthrow of a generally rights-respecting government. If people want to bring “refugees” into our country, private charities are welcome to pay for the screenings, find them jobs, etc.

If the prospective immigrant passes the initial screening, he would be permitted to live and work here and, after many years (we can debate about how many), apply for citizenship. At that point, at his expense, another screening would be conducted, to ensure that the applicant had continued to act in a way consistent with respecting individual rights. He would also be required to take a test of knowledge and an oath, similar to what we require today. Obviously, if the prospective immigrant, during his stay here, commits significant criminal acts (we can argue about what these are), he’d be deported; similar for joining or supporting any group that advocates using violence other than in self-defense.

I welcome your comments on this, so long as you are polite. Some commenters on this issue are not polite, to say the least, and I have blocked and re-blocked them numerous times (the latter made necessary by these commenters’ continuous attempts to evade the screening processes I use to block them from making comments on my blog). Again, I agree with Mazlish and others that our country is in cultural free-fall. Still, I don’t think an ideological screening of immigrants (or anyone else) is the solution.

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272 Comments

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272 responses to “A Response to Ed Mazlish’s Call for Ideological Screening of Immigrants

  1. Roger MacInness

    A persons actions are what count not what is in his mind, that he might act on. This reminds me of Catholics I have talked to that beleive to think somthing evil is the same as doing somthing evil.

    • Particularly when we’re talking about what actions a government is justified in taking, we need to be concerned with how people act, not with what they think (or what we believe they think).

  2. Ed Mazlish

    Amy: Given that you agree that the prospective entrants may – and should – be screened for “any other history that shows the prospective immigrant is not rights respecting,” I don’t think that we disagree significantly, if at all. The screening I proposed – but did not detail – was aimed at welcoming those who respect rights and barring those who don’t.

    Of course, reasonable people may disagree on the extent of the screening and how good a proxy for fidelity to individual rights the screening must be. I don’t believe there is only one plan or even one level of confidence required that is the “correct” level of screening. But you articulate the correct principle – allowing indiscriminate entry without regard to whether the prospective entrant is rights respecting does not protect the individual rights of the people already within the jurisdiction of a rights respecting government. Or to state it differently, a rights respecting government of people who themselves respect individual rights can and must take reasonable measures to keep out foreigners who the government knows or with reasonable diligence could know are adverse to individual rights.

    • Right, but I make clear that by “history,” I mean actions. I do not think a proper government is justified in conducting an ideological screening. How would you propose to screen, other than by looking at the actions I describe in my brief proposal? Would you propose that they take a test that is supposed to reveal the beliefs they hold?

  3. michaelniren55

    Don’t agree Amy with any initial and secondary screening of immigrants–unless there is probable cause. Why not treat people crossing national borders in the same way we do for people crossing state borders? What’s the difference? You don’t screen someone who is crossing into George from Florida. We don’t protect rights of people because they all have been “pre-screened”. Why subject an immigrant at the border to criminal background checks but not someone inside who may or may not have a worse profile? What rational is there for not granting intending immigrants the presumption of innocence? I think you would be hard pressed to argue that just because someone belongs to the class of “immigrants” that that alone justifies a member of that class be screened i.e., presumed gulity–because that is what screening without just cause means.

    • You screen because there are always a small minority of criminals and enemies of freedom, and it is our government’s job to protect citizens. The screening asks only: does this individual have a history of violating rights, or actively promoting the violation of rights? That’s it.

      • michaelniren55

        But protecting citizens can’t mean violating the rights of individuals, even if that means “light screening”. National security requires taking defensive measures against known enemies abroad or invaders if they make it that far. Domestic security means taking offensive measures of those who have already committed crimes. Intending immigrants (as individuals) don’t fall into either category.

      • michaelniren55

        You said: “You screen because there are always a small minority of criminals and enemies of freedom, and it is our government’s job to protect citizens” You protect by responding to threats not by screening innocent people to weed out threats.

      • Romello Dellomand

        Would a Muslim who doesn’t have a criminal record but believes that Muslim’s should democratically vote in Sharia when they become a majority be allowed in ?

  4. I have evolved over the years on this issue, going from an advocate of open borders to an advocate of, essentially, closed borders, based on the facts on the ground. A good overview of the facts can be found in Ann Coulter’s new book, “Adios America.” Now Ann is a marginally successful political humorist, but she’s a lawyer and knows how to do research. The book comes with roughly 200 pages of footnotes detailing the sources for the facts she presents. Instead of reiterating these facts, I will try to sum up what I think the principles are that arise from these facts:

    1) Open Borders is incompatible with the welfare state. 50% of immigrant families take advantage of welfare benefits, compared to 25% of native-born families (and something like 15% of non-black native born families). Details on these figures are in the book, plus the obvious discussion about which of the 127 different welfare programs in the US are open to and exploited by immigrants of all kinds. The conclusion that follows from this fact is that the prerequisite for allowing more immigration (not to mention open borders) is to end the welfare state entirely. Not “end it for immigrants”–that has been tried and failed–end it entirely. “Welfare reform” banned immigrants from collecting from roughly 5 of the 127 welfare programs, and this ban lasted until Obama essentially rescinded it by executive fiat in 2009. No selective ban will last when up against the lawlessness of the Left. So, if you want open immigration, argue for it as a follow-on to the end of the welfare state, rather than as something that is desirable now. And in the interim, support the wall.

    2) Open borders is incompatible with democracy. Now I know the US is not intended to be a democracy, but a rights-respecting constitutional republic. I have news for you: it isn’t. Not today, not in fact, not in reality. I wish it were. I want it to be again. I know it used to be. But it isn’t. That’s simply a fact that you can see by looking around. One does not need 200 pages of footnotes to understand that the US is a representative democracy. Immigrants vote 80%/20% in favor of socialism, of more government handouts, of more government control, more government spending. They do so while almost entirely evading the government rules and regulations they vote for. (See the articles of Victor Davis Hanson for more details on the two-society state in California). None of our freedoms will last under a constant assault of 2 million pro-government people being imported every year, not to mention the legalization and granting the franchise to the ~30 million that are already here. Voter fraud committed by ineligible voters is now a significant element in many elections. With open borders and amnesty, the would-be totalitarians will no longer even need to use voter fraud, they will get their socialist utopia for free. “One man, one vote, once,” as they say in Africa.

    3) Mass immigration from the third world is incompatible with American culture. This is the principle point of Ann’s book. Many Objectivists look to America in the 19th century, when we had mass immigration with limited restrictions, and no welfare, and everything worked out great. This is not quite true–everything did not work out great in the end (see below)–but it is mostly true. So why not repeat the formula today? The reason is that our 19th century immigrants were almost entirely from countries that embraced Western Civilization: Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, etc. There is a huge difference between importing 2 million Irishmen and 2 million Somalis.

    This is not a thought experiment, this actually is happening. Our Dear Leader, under pressure from that most enlightened of pro-immigration institutions, the United Nations, imported 100,000 Somalian refugees to Minneapolis. Now Somalia is a country of chaos, misogyny, child rape, crime, gangsterism and jihad. Tell me this: when importing 100,000 Somalians to Minneapolis, are we going to get 100,000 new productive Americans or are we going to turn Minneapolis into a center of chaos, misogyny, chid rape, crime, gangsterism, and jihad? Read Ann’s book and you’ll find out, though this should not be a hard question to guess the answer to.

    It’s not just Somalia, of course, all third world cultures have similar characteristics. Mexico is a country filled with corruption, gangsterism, misogyny, and child rape. Now, so is Southern California, Arizona, and Southern Texas. Why are people surprised at this? Sure, if *one* Mexican family comes into the US, they will adapt quite quickly. Even ten or 50 Mexican families will do so. But we have imported ONE QUARTER OF THE POPULATION OF MEXICO. You did not read that wrong. Third world countries are third world countries FOR A REASON. Individuals from those countries, seeking work and a better world, can and do improve the United States. But you can’t simply import a substantial fraction of the population of a third world country into the United States and expect anything other than turning the United States into a third world hell-hole, which you can visit if you drive around the generally nastier areas of Southern and Central California, Arizona, and Texas, which I have done personally. Why would you believe otherwise?

    While philosophy drives history, it drives it, as Leonard Peikoff has shown in his book “The DIM Hypothesis”, through CULTURE. Most individuals don’t know the first thing about Rousseau or Kant or Marx, but they understand their own culture (which is derived from these philosophers and others). American culture, the sense-of-life created by 300 years of reason, individualism, and freedom, though diminished repeatedly by bad philosophy, stands as a beacon of hope in the world, as long as it is not drowned out by an influx of cultures totally inimical to it. Immigrants must be willing to reject their own previous cultures in the strongest possible intellectual terms (ignoring the inessentials like food preference) before they can accept American culture (and the philosophy that underlies it) and become fully American. This CANNOT HAPPEN if when they come to American they are surrounded by 20 million of their own former comrades and no actual Americans. Why is this statement controversial?

    Harry Binswanger has for years advocated no borders at all, no border checkpoints, no passports, no screening, nothing. Just free movement like between Virginia and Maryland. This has a theoretical attractiveness to it. We love being able to travel back and forth between Virginia and Maryland without restriction or passports, why shouldn’t the US be like that with all other countries, he asks? This is complete RATIONALISM. It ignores or evades the central facts in this discussion: the effects of the welfare state, the effects of the current political system, the toxic effects of the myriad third world cultures on the United States if mass immigration were allowed. It is an idea floating in the sky, unconnected to the actual effects or facts on the ground. When I asked Dr. Binswanger about applying his open borders scheme to, for example, Israel (they’ve been at peace with Jordan for a long time, why not allow open borders with Jordan?) he banned the topic from discussion. Indeed, it was an open borders policy instituted by Lebanon in the 1970s that caused the destruction of that once prosperous country (ask me for the reference to this). Open borders destroys civilizations, from the fall of the Roman Empire in the West, to Lebanon today, to England and France with their extensive “no-go” zones, and it will destroy the United States as well.

    Yaron Brooke (himself an immigrant) and Craig Biddle advocate some sort of “background checks” on immigrants. This is pure fantasy. How do you background check 100,000 Somalians? My concealed carry permit background check here in Virginia–where there are computerized law enforcement records–took 45 DAYS. There is no background check system in the world that could work AT ALL at the point of entry for 100,000 Somalians or 20 million Mexicans or 5 million Guatemalans, etc. The idea is ludicrous. Certainly, if a business wanted to hire a foreigner, and itself pay for and conduct a background check on the person (under penalty of perjury and assuming liability for the person’s actions once in the United States) then sure, bring him in. But the idea that some random third world immigrant can show up (usually without a passport) at one of our border checkpoints and we are going to to do a background check on him right there is preposterous.

    Finally, both Binswanger and Brooke advocate delaying citizenship for immigrants or making it harder to acquire. Certainly I agree with this. But they say this because I believe they understand that the whole issue of “immigration reform” now being discussed in the media comes down to one and only one issue: the Democrats desperately want these new third world immigrants as legal voters (as opposed to the illegal voters many of them are now) and are calling the American people racists because they sensibly oppose this idea. Almost every Objectivist I have talked to of the open borders persuasion doesn’t understand or admit that the only reason ANYONE is talking about this issue is because the Democrats want new voters. If the Republicans offered the Democrats EVERYTHING they wanted on immigration reform EXCEPT a “path to citizenship” the Democrats would oppose it vocifereously (as they have, in rare moments of candor, admitted). A “path to citizenship” is the ONLY thing that is being discussed in the public debate. Any Objectivist advocating “immigration reform” must LEAD with “no citizenship” before any other details or they are not in fact participating in the coversation, they are simply supporting the socialists and their Democrat water-bearers. No open borders Objectivist does so.

    The great immigration wave of the late 19th century caused a huge xenophobic backlash in the United States, culminating in a ban on immigration in 1924 lasting for 40 years. This ban was in a lot of ways very harmful to the United States. This type of ban is EXACTLY waht Ann Coulter proposesas the solution to the problem of immigration, and this sort of ban is now supported openly by 24% of Americans polled. You watch, this position will become stronger and stronger over the years if mass immigration (legal and illegal) is continued to run rampant. Eventually, Ann will get her wish. Advocating for open borders ISN’T HELPING, in fact it is playing into the hands of the immigration restrictionists.

    The solution to the problem in my view is to seal the border from illegal immigrants, ban immigration based on family reunification (the single biggest cause of our current problems), and renew the quota system for immigrants such that large numbers of immigrants are allowed from countries that have a culture of freedom and rule of law (Western Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel), and VERY LIMITED immigration from any other country, essentially zero unless a company will stand up and sponsor the person and his family and assume liability for his actions if they do so. People from freedom-respecting countries get to come fairly freely. People from non-freedom-respecting countries don’t unless someone stands as a guarantor for their behavior. Other than Ann Coulter’s complete ban on immigration for 40 years, this is the only scheme that can save America from complete collapse into third world status, as Europe is in the process of doing (see Mark Stein’s book, “America Alone”). As for current immigrants: they get to stay or be deported according to the policy described above, no exceptions.

    Help save the United States, oppose open borders.

    • Thanks, Ed, for your comments here. I’d like to add one important provision (I’ll also add it into the body of the blog post): in a proper system, discrimination by employers and landlords, property sellers, etc., for whatever reason, would be legal. Moreover, who is paying for these 100,000 Somalis to come here? In a proper system, 100,000 Somali refugees could not put together the resources to come in. The screening may be time consuming or expensive, but it needs to be done. And not at our expense.

      • Amy, the government is paying, of course. But the government isn’t paying the 20 million Mexicans, though, so the principle is the same. To enter from a third world country, a person should have to be sponsored by an employer who will stand surety for their behavior in a legally binding fashion. It is this transfer of responsibility for good behavior of the immigrant from the local police to the company that wants to employ the third world immigrant that can make the screening process a success. But if a person has no sponsor to stand surety for them? Then, no, stay out.

        Screening a person from a third world country is extremely hard, because no records exist in these countries, and we wouldn’t beleive the records even if they did exist. It is certainly not something the US government is cable of doing competently. Thus, the responsibility for this needs to be put on the organization demanding the immigrant come in, with the understanding that the organization itself will be held financially responsible for any crimes or torts committed by the person for some reasonable length of time (say 5 years). Under these conditions, there won’t be many charities importing large numbers of refugees into the US. But families could still adopt foreign orphans and companies could still bring in talent they need to make their businesses work.

        • Janet Wilberg

          We must not neglect allowance for a rational and efficient process allowing for political asylum for those fleeing persecution for freedom. Also, if a family member, friend, or even a philanthropic stranger wishes to sponsor an immigrant and is willing to vouch for them. This should be allowed. Some cannot line up work before they get here, but do come with hopes and dreams of making their way. It should not simply be dependent on employers alone beforehand.

          • Janet, Ann Coulter’s book describes the current situation with regards to refugees. I suggest you read that. My conclusion is we should limit the refugees we take in to exactly zero. You’ll see what I mean after you read it.

    • Grant Jones

      Bravo Ed, and mega-dittos. I would add that the nature of the nation-state also requires reasonable border controls. A nation without borders is not a nation and/or will not last long.

    • Wendy

      Ed, your post is outstanding. You have always been an insightful thinker and articulate writer on political issues, and I hope to see your name in mainstream outlets or even a book one day.

      Two minor fact-checking points.
      1) The Immigration Act of 1924 did not ban immigration. It reduced it by half, favored European countries, and ended wave migration. As an aside, I am curious why you think it was “very harmful.” It certainly didn’t stop Ayn Rand from coming into the U.S.
      2) Ann Coulter’s immigration actually resembles yours, except that she would put a 10-year moratorium on immigration upfront to assimilate immigrants already here (not 40).

    • ED:
      great post. Question for you though, why do Objectivists seem to ignore the reality of the situation and hold onto the abstract idea of open borders in contravention of the obvious. In a perfect world open borders would be great. This isn’t a perfect world, it will probably never be a perfect world so why try and make a small portion of it in your ideal while ignoring the rest?

  5. Jawaid

    Amy,

    “First, of course, we need to eliminate the welfare state–or at least not make welfare or other “public assistance” available to immigrants.”

    This has been Federal law for 20 years.

    • Actually, not. See Ed Powell’s comment, which is based on research from Ann Coulter’s latest book. Obama apparently rescinded, by fiat, restrictions on giving welfare to immigrants. I agree with Ed: the Welfare state has got to go as a prerequisite.

  6. forethoughtnet

    Amy, shockingly, what you propose as what the law should be, is actually pretty much what the law is. Except that current law has arbitrary quotas set low on purpose to protect labor unions.

    • I’d get rid of quotas, and, importantly (I need to put this as an update), I’d allow discrimination by employers, landlords, etc.

      • Kenneth E. Stahl

        Consider that the foundation for eliminating laws against discrimination is to be found in the Constitution, Article I, last paragraph of Section 9, “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” And in Amendment XIII which states “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

        A title of nobility is defined by the privilege granted. Servitude is “a right possessed by one person to use another’s property.” (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/servitude)

        I would contend that these constitutional limits on congressional law making have either been ignored or dismissed through legalistic equivocation. After 150 years of willful disregard of the plain language of the Constitution, allowing legal discrimination is a daunting task. Hundreds of millions have both a psychological and monetary vested interest in continuing to disregard the Constitution.

  7. michaelniren55

    Ed Powell: your argument for closed borders seems to be that since we have a welfare state and a broken system, we need more controls to preserve what we have left. In that regard, why not ban hate speech as Amy pointed out? Why not have the police knock on everyone’s door at night to catch subversives, detain them and deport them? Why not revoke citizenship for “ideological crimes” in the name of preserving the Republic? And why draw the line at closed borders? Seems arbitrary to stop at just immigration.

    • Michael, see my comment farther down where I address this issue. On careful consideration of all the facts, I do not believe excluding a person from the United States, even if that person is “innocent”, is a violation of their rights. This is a complex subject, and I’m out of time for now, so I’ll leave it at that. Notice also, I am not supporting any ideological test on individuals, just restricting immigration from non-Western Civilization/Rule-of-law countries.

  8. Romello Dellomand

    How does Biddle propose screening immigrants? Does he believe a Pakistani or Mexican background check is worth the paper its printed on ?

    AND since Pakistan and somlia dont punish rape and domestic violence a criminal background check worthless.

    I too have asked these questions on open immigration sites only to be banned.

    • Here, you’re in perpetual moderation because of other sorts of comments you’ve made.

      Our intelligence agencies would have to be involved, and aware of the lack of punishment for rape and domestic violence, “honor” killings, etc., in certain countries. I’m not saying the screening would be easy. But it would need to be done.

  9. Ed Mazlish

    I agree with Ed Powell’s excellent comments, with the below exceptions.

    I don’t believe quotas are appropriate, although I do believe that it’s proper to make culture-level general judgments about the home country from where the prospective entrant arrives.

    However, even that caveat needs to be narrowed in light of what open immigration/open borders has done to Europe. I don’t think someone with a European passport today means the same thing it did even 30 years ago – being European today does not necessarily mean you understand or respect individual rights.

    Individualized screenings are necessary. They should be done in foreign consulates/embassies as a pre-condition to obtaining a visa. I don’t have a formal, finalized proposal, but in general I believe that the screening should encompass the following:
    (1) a criminal background check;
    (2) a check of lawsuits, welfare receipts, bankruptcies and other indicia of personal responsibility;
    (3) something akin to the civics exam required for citizenship, which allows the prospective entrant to demonstrate his understanding of (albeit not necessarily his agreement with) the way our system of government and laws works. If the prospective entrant is going to agree to abide by the laws we have, he should at least have a rudimentary understanding of what he’s agreeing to follow.
    (4) If possible (and I’m not sure it is), some investigation into groups he has joined and supported. If a Mexican citizen is a member/financial supporter of the Mexican chapter of La Raza, that should weigh against the granting of a visa.

    I’m sure there are other factors to consider, but these are illustrative of what my starting point would be.

    But I emphatically agree with Ed Powell’s final comment: Save America, Oppose Open Borders.

  10. michaelniren55

    Someone tell me how taking preventive measures (screening immigrants) however lightly performed, in the absence of probable cause does not violate their rights? Ayn Rand came to America from Soviet Russia. Would you argue that she had no right to come to America? Because if you are for screening immigrants, then you are saying that they enter the country by permission and not by right. And ironically you are justifying such measures because we don’t live in a perfect rights-respecting nation.

    • If a criminal or traitor’s history is based on actions while in the U.S., then it would be part of a publicly available record (or perhaps the person would even be in prison, depending on the law violated). With respect to someone who has lived for a significant period of time elsewhere, the people who live here, and might deal with the new immigrant, have no way of knowing this history. Are you saying that, no matter what a person has done in the past, he should have a blank slate when walking across a border of a new country?

      • michaelniren55

        But the public record is generated AFTER the person committed a crime and not before. Imagine the gov’t collecting data on us and creating records on our potential for committing crimes? Taking such preventative measures would be a violation of our rights. So why are intending immigrants to be treated any differently? Are you saying that since your neighbor has a social security number i.e., has been tagged you can rest easy? Of course not. It’s rather because they are presumed innocent and so should immigrants.

        • Right, but if they’ve come here from elsewhere, they may have committed crimes in their home countries, and people here would not have access to that information. I’m not talking about *potential* for committing crimes; I’m talking about whether they’ve committed crimes, or aided/abetted an enemy, in the past.

        • michaelniren55

          Also you asked “Are you saying that, no matter what a person has done in the past, he should have a blank slate when walking across a border of a new country”. No. I am saying that if there is probable cause for screening anyone, then that is fine. A person’s past may or may not be grounds depending on the situation. It is the same in the domestic context. You would need prior knowledge before any screening would be justified. And that knowledge would have to be compelling to overcome the presumption of innocence and the general right not to be subject to preventative measures.

          • michaelniren55

            Lastly you said “Right, but if they’ve come here from elsewhere, they may have committed crimes in their home countries, and people here would not have access to that information”. But that some may have committed crimes in other countries, doesn’t justify screening all intending immigrants. The same argument applies domestically: That some people may have committed crimes doesn’t justify registering and tracking all of us.

          • Ed Mazlish

            How would you ever acquire probable cause if no screenings are allowed?

          • Ed Mazlish

            “I am saying that if there is probable cause for screening anyone, then that is fine.” —-> But how would you ever acquire probable cause if you cannot screen them?

    • Grant Jones

      There is no such thing as a “right” to cross an international frontier. The USA is a sovereign nation with the same sovereign rights as every other nation on earth.

      • michaelniren55

        Ed: your question assumes that it should be the job of border officials to establish probable cause to screen. How? By screening? But the gov’ts job is not to sniff out criminality by interrogating people, not at the border, not in the homeland. The rule of law doesn’t work that way. It’s responsive not preventative. The gov’t responds to threats once they present themselves. They shouldn’t be rounding up people, asking for papers, doing cavity searches. Only if an individual meets a profile objectivity established to be a threat should action be taken. But in no way do immigrants as such fit into any one category that justifies a broad, sweeping screening campaign. So surgical screening, background checks could be justified with probable cause but not general. Why? Because immigrants as individuals are innocent until proven guilty.

        • michaelniren55

          Grant: only individuals are sovereign not nations. Nations are just collections of individuals.

          • Wendy

            Nation-states are sovereign. You are attacking the Westphalian system, which, philosophically speaking, puts you outside of the Enlightenment and in the same league as one-world globalists.

          • michaelniren55

            Wendy: so a county like Iran is sovereign?

          • Wendy

            All nation-states that adhere to the Westphalian system are sovereign. Sovereignty is forfeit when a nation-state violates the sovereignty of other nation-states. Iran does that on a routine basis and has been doing so since the Iranian Revolution. Whether others decide to respond or not is a separate question, but Iran’s behavior and the failure of others to do anything about it does not invalidate the principle of national sovereignty.

        • Ed Mazlish

          Michael: I mirrored back a quote of yours. You said screening would be ok if there were probable cause – so I asked how you could possibly acquire probable cause if screenings are impermissible?

          • michaelniren55

            Ed: I replied that surgical, target screening based on profiling that gave rise to probable cause may be acceptable not the general screening of immigrants. And further as I said it should not be the role of border officials to sniff out crime from immigrants as a class of people.

  11. Ed Mazlish

    I agree Amy – the screening would be (potentially) difficult but that it needs to be done. And we should know at the outset that it won’t be perfect – just as open borders is not perfect in only letting in good guys and only keeping out bad guys.

    We do the best we can and that’s all you can ask of rational people and a rational system.

  12. srogers1

    What Ed Mazlish proposes is really a different conception of government from the one proposed by Objectivism. The purpose is different. The primary, in his view, is creating and sustaining the ideological critical mass required to sustain freedom. Objectivism grounds government in leaving the individual freedom to think, regardless of what that choice does for the population as a whole.

    These are two completely different views of government. How these views play out differently in practice with regard to immigration is really a side issue. This is not two different views of immigration, it is two different views of the considerations that give rise to the need for government as such.

    • michaelniren55

      I agree with you srogers1. Objectivism does not advocate the violation of rights in the name of protecting them

    • srogers1

      And to be explicit about my point – one should really debate those views as two different views of the origin and purpose of government. Not debate them within the narrow realm of immigration.

    • Agreed, and Ed’s first paragraph says as much:

      “One of the critical insights made by individual rights champion Ayn Rand is that ideas and philosophy are what move history. The purpose of this article is to apply that lesson to the topic of immigration. Specifically, I will show that ideological screening of immigrants is an appropriate immigration restriction – not just in today’s welfare state or War on Terror context, but also as a necessary requirement for the survival of any free society which is an island of liberty surrounded by an ocean of collectivism.”

      Even were there no welfare state, even were we not involved in the so-called War on Terror, and presumably unless the rest of the world was as “free” as we would be in Ed’s ideal society, where government’s concern would be to ensure that the “right” ideas dominate the culture, Ed calls for government to screen for ideology with respect to prospective immigrants.

      Once we accept the idea that it is a proper function of government to determine which ideas are acceptable or not, which should be legal and which should be illegal, with respect to immigration, then there is no reason not to call for the government to be the arbiter of which ideas that citizens themselves may hold or advocate, which ideas are good, which are evil, which are true, which are false.

      That would be the death of freedom of speech and require an actual dictatorship, the very sort of “cultural collectivism” that Ed claims to be primarily concerned about. In the name of fighting “cultural collectivism,” Ed would have us create a totalitarian society…in the name of freedom.

      • michaelniren55

        John: you are right. Government, though the rule of law is supposed to react to crime in protection of the innocent and not to prevent crime in advance to enforce order. This is a crucial distinction and is what defines a free society vs. a nanny state. In the immigration context nothing changes. The fact that we may not have a reliable history of an applicant for entry doesn’t justify taking preventative measures against that person. An immigrant’s history is no business of the gov’t unless that immigrant has committed a crime or is a known enemy of the state (belongs to a terrorist group). Once an immigrant arrives at our shores, his rights should be protected. He may not have the right to vote but he has the right to be presumed innocent and be protected from the use of force. Advocating screening an individual immigrant just because some other immigrants have committed crimes or are members of terrorists organizations, is claiming he’s presumed guilty by association–a collectivist concept.

        • “An immigrant’s history is no business of the gov’t unless that immigrant has committed a crime or is a known enemy of the state (belongs to a terrorist group).”

          And how is the government supposed to know that without doing some form of screening?

          • michaelniren55

            The methods by which the gov’t discovers a threat cannot entail interrogation of individuals who present no objective threat. Immigrants as such do not fall into any such category. They are not terrorists, they are not enemies of the state. They are travelers, some of whom want to visit, study or work, some want to move permanently. So while profiling may be justified which gives rise to probable cause, interrogation of people (immigrants in general) who do not fit within a given profile is never justified. To argue it does is to give the gov’t power to profile everyone as potential threats, suspend their right to be presumed innocent and grant them access by permission and not by right.

  13. michaelniren55

    Lets take what Ed M. just said and apply that in the domestic context. More people get hurt inside by fellow citizens then by immigrants. Hundreds of thousands of them commit crimes each day. And anyone has the potential to assault and harm others on the streets. So before we let them roam around, lets make sure they pass check points along major routes especially when crossing state lines. Lets ask them to show their papers to officials. It may be difficult but it has to be done.

    • Let’s take an extreme hypothetical example. Two countries, A and B. A is similar to the United States today, B is a country full of cannibals. No screening at the border when random person from country B shows up there?

      • michaeln55

        Amy: if you are identifying a member of country B as belonging to a threatening group then yes. But the burden is on the gov’t to make that case. Membership in ISIS? Case made. Citizens of country B? Could be. But note we are not screening all immigrants as a group. That is my point

  14. Ellen Victoreen

    Ann Coulter 5 hrs ·

    These morons with their little position papers on how to replace Obamacare, deal with Iran and defund planned parenthood …… too stupid to grasp that they’ll never be in a position to do any of that unless we stop foreigners from voting in our elections.

    On Fri, Aug 21, 2015 at 2:27 AM, Don’t Let It Go wrote:

    > amyp posted: “Over at Rule of Reason, Ed Mazlish published a piece in > which he argues against what he sees as the “Open Immigration” policies of > leading Objectivist intellectuals, and proposes what he sees as a proper > immigration policy, one flowing from Objectivist pr” Respond to this post > by replying above this line > New post on *Don’t Let It Go* A > Response to Ed Mazlish on Immigration > by > amyp > > Over at Rule of Reason, Ed Mazlish published a piece > > in which he argues against what he sees as the “Open Immigration” policies > of leading Objectivist intellectuals, and proposes what he sees as a proper > immigration policy, one flowing from Objectivist principles. > > I think he makes a few errors in that piece, and I’d like to explain these > briefly, while clarifying my own position for my listeners and readers. > >

  15. Grant Jones

    The fundamental question is by what standard should immigration policy be based upon: the national self-interest of the United States or the alleged “right” of foreign nationals to cross the border. It’s either/or. If the USA is a nation state and not a giant flophouse, then the American people have every right to define immigration policy on their view of the national interest. The American people, and their government, has no obligation to allow in foreigners if it’s not in the national interest. The “rights,” wants, desires, interests, needs, etc., are not may problem nor that of my government.

    • michaelniren55

      Grant: define “national self interest”. Is it what the majority decides? What the gov’t decides? What if the American people decide to keep out Jews as a matter of national self interest? No policy should be based on anything but the protection of individual rights. Immigrants are people with rights that are to be protected as soon as they arrive at our shores and then from within. If national self interest means screening them then what you are advocating is a collectivist policy grouping immigrants as a special class of persons who are not subject to the rule of law.

      • Grant Jones

        Yes, the nation-state is a collectivist concept. Since 1648 all sovereign states have had the absolute right to control who and what crosses their borders. This legitimate power is a defining attribute of the nation-state. Ask yourself what events in Europe in the preceding seventy-five years led to this reasonable conclusion.

        As with those who supported the “right” of Moslems to build their Jihad Victory Mosque at ground zero, you are using the concept of individual rights as a floating abstraction. You first need to ask what cultural requirements are needed for a rights respecting government to come into existence and/or to continue to function. Then you need to address what type of polity can support such a government. The no border position makes these prerequisites impossible. It’s no accident that both the hard left (international socialists) and Moslems (the ummah) support getting rid of the traditional nation-state and seek to replace it with some form of “global governance.” A huge part of their plan to destroy what’s left of liberty is to erase the civilized West’s borders. All one has to do is observe the barbarian hordes descending upon Europe to see the United States’ not to distant future if we continue with the current no border insanity.

        The purpose of the US government is to protect the rights and interests of the American people. The rights and interests of Mexican citizens are the problem of the Mexican government. Basically, your position is based on altruism. The government created by the American people to preserve their liberties now has some moral imperative to protect the rights of anyone and everyone who shows up at the border. What’s telling is that you don’t care in the least what this policy is doing to the actual country we live in. As has been documented and a Ed Powell above noted, the damage of the “no border” position to the country has been great.

        • michaelniren55

          So what justifies the protection of rights is citizenship not human nature? If an immigrant visits and is robbed, you would have that person fend for themselves because they aren’t eligible for a US Passport? I’m not saying that the US gov’t out to nation build like George Bush advocated in Iraq. But insofar as someone comes to America, like Ayn Rand did, they are entitled to be protected under the rule of law.

          • Grant Jones

            Now you’re conflating an immigrant already in the country receiving due process of law and people who are not yet in the country. No you’re not saying that the US engage in nation building in Iraq. You’re saying the USA should allow in millions of Iraqis and then attempt to civilize them here in America.

      • Grant Jones

        “Define national self interest,” Peter Schwartz already did so when discussing other aspects of foreign policy. Your question smuggles in the premise that such a policy can’t exist and would be “unfair” to foreign nationals that America has some altruistic duty towards. What is strange is that no border types have no problem with the government making total war on Iran or any other threatening nation. Such a policy would result in the death of hundreds of thousands of Iranians. The response is some version of “so what, that’s war.” Fine. But, why is it okay to carpet bomb hostile foreign nationals and not okay to just keep them out of the country? Do the American people have to wait for a formal declaration of war to defend themselves? What if containment of Islamic countries is a better strategy than open warfare? According to the no border types that doesn’t matter. The USA is obligated to accept the entire population of Somalia if they can somehow make it to the border regardless of how such an insane policy would affect the interests or security of the American people.

        • michaelniren55

          It is you who is smuggling concepts: You say: “But, why is it okay to carpet bomb hostile foreign nationals and not okay to just keep them out of the country”. When you carpet bomb, you are attacking a hostile gov’t in self defense and some unarmed people will get killed in the process. What does that have to do with immigrants who want to come to work, study, and live in America? Are you claiming that they are all hostiles? They are members of their own gov’t ready to take up arms? Again, I guess Ayn Rand should have been denied entry as a Soviet/Russian citizen–as a hostile to America. Your position is untenable.

          • Grant Jones

            Clearly, the concept of the Westphalian nation-state is beyond your ken. Clearly, the reason why it’s a bad idea to allow hostile foreign nationals into the country also escapes you. I’m done. Arguing with such extreme rationalists is like arguing against the wind.

          • Wendy

            Nope. When you carpet bomb, you are by definition attacking the alien population directly and en masse, not the government. The logical end road of your position on immigration is a pacifistic foreign policy.

          • Grant Jones

            Wendy, I seriously doubt if the “no borders, but bomb them back to the stone age” types have ever heard of Bomber Harris or Curtis Lemay.

          • Trevor

            I remain astonished at the temerity of open-borders Objectivists who scream out in righteous indignation at the suggestion of border/immigration controls, while simultaneously advocating the irradiation of the middle east. Their position boils down to, “Kill every man, woman, and child if necessary, but don’t dare touch one hair on their beautiful heads if they desire to live here.”

            The alleged “right” to immigrate is false. So long as people have the right to defend themselves from external threats there can be no such thing as a right to immigrate. And “external threat” is a broad concept; it encompasses a lot more than the three concretes we always hear rattled off by open-borders Objectivists like dogma.

  16. John Bott

    Ed Powell’s comment is better than the last 40 years of Objectivist commentary on this subject. I would go further than he does in restrictions but still his understanding is excellent. But understand the reality of this. A non-suicidal immigration policy would favor Europeans and North Asians (and there are major problems with the Chinese as well, they are fiercely ethnocentric). What do they have in common? If you said high IQ then go to the front of the class. You are getting into race and heredity territory here and that bunny hole runs *deep*. Objectivism as a movement has shown no interest in scientific racialism or human bio-diversity because the results may not be pretty for the philosophy of “individualism”.

    I won’t go further given the delicate sentiments of our hostess, but if people like Ed Powell comprised the majority of Objectivism (give me more of him and less of the Binswangers and Biddels and Armstrongs and Hsieh’s and …)it might actually have a future because as America continues to brown, immigration and racial demographics will be the *number 1* issue in politics. This is why Trump may end up President of the US. I will vote for him if he gets nominated and I don’t care if he is a “statist”. If America loses its European majority, liberty will die as America reverts to the third world mean. Very sad.

  17. michaelniren55

    You also seem to imply that accepting immigrants that adversely affects Americans. How do they? Do they take away jobs? Do they not speak English? Do they import bad ideas? You call me an altruist but you are a protectionist. There is no obligation but a right to mobility and someone exercising his rights do not conflict with the rights of others. Do I really have to make the economic case for immigration here? Ask yourself where would America be without immigration? It wouldn’t.

    • Wendy

      They are responsible for bringing Democrats into power in states where they mass settle. If any foreigner is allowed to come in at will, foreigners would completely overwhelm the American electorate within a matter of months if not weeks, Democrats would take permanent power, and the Democrats would crush freedom in America. How many times do we need to point this out? It’s a mathematical reality, not a paranoid fear. Gallup did a poll on the question. 150 million people want to come to America. That is not a vague aspiration; every year, 1 in 15 of them applies for the visa lottery system. Do you know what the population of America is?

      • Grant Jones

        Wendy, for some people when facts conflict with their floating abstractions, then the facts must go.

      • michaelniren55

        Wendy said “if any foreigner is allowed to come in at will, foreigners would completely overwhelm the American electorate within a matter of months if not weeks, Democrats would take permanent power, and the Democrats would crush freedom in America”. So again, like your colleagues, you are saying in essence: We have to deny the rights of some individuals to preserve what we have left because our system isn’t perfect i.e., there is a risk that many immigrants will eventually get the right to vote and will vote for policies that violate rights. Can’t you see the glaring contradiction in this position? Why not also suspend free speech given that too many democrats are taking advantage of social media using it to solicit recruits? And you really think that immigrants are the main cause of social decline? Really? I’d walk the halls of the universities and talk to the folks there. Objectivism doesn’t advocate changing the culture by erecting fences. Immigrants as I have argued are not enemies of the state, despite your attempts to conflate the idea with carpet bombing scenarios.

        • Wendy

          There is no such thing as an inalienable right to enter a foreign country, so it is not violating any rights by denying them entry.

          Democrats simply cannot win the Presidential election with the native vote (looking at blacks and whites as a proxy for native). They require immigrants and their near-descendants, who vote for them in ratios of about 2:1. As for the universities: Marxism is an import. It could never have been created in American culture, and the vast majority of Americans do not accept it. Without the influx of foreign waves in the 20th century, Marxism would be an impotent minority ideology today. So yes, immigrants and their near-descendants must receive blame. Your position is one of moral relativism toward immigrants while heaping unjust condemnation on Americans. Your position is literally anti-American.

          Allowing in 150 million people who are significantly to the left of the native population and most of whom do not come from civilized cultures is just crazy. Either Objectivism is an egoist movement, or it is not. The right of self-preservation is unassailable.

  18. Ed Mazlish

    Human beings are not interchangeable widgets. The ideas and values a particular individual has are crucially important to any group of people that allows him entry to their group. Every parent who has tried to protect their child from just one bad apple knows this. Every person who has worked in an office environment where a single bad attitude destroyed an entire culture knows this. That open borders advocates deny this very basic and very well known facet of human interactions shows that their position is completely detached to actual facts, and instead is grounded wholly in principles and theories.

    Objectivism, and particularly Objectivist epistemology, does not begin with principles and theories. It begins with facts and looking outward. The facts of what it means to have open borders that make no effort to screen out miscreants are widely available for anyone to see – anyone who is interested in facts before they try to apply their theories. The destruction of Europe from open borders is merely the most obvious example.

    • michaelniren55

      Ed said: “The ideas and values a particular individual has are crucially important to any group of people that allows him entry to their group”. But if one’s values are what gives someone privileges such as mobility, then why not extend this concept beyond the immigration context? After all your case is that to preserve the republic measures have to be taken against not just criminals but those holding certain believes that may not even necessarily lead to criminal activity but could merely influence others in ways that are adverse to social ends. So why not say that your privilege to freedom of speech (Note I don’t call it a right here) depends on your value system? And say your can only become a professor at a university if you pass the ideological exam? The role of the gov’t is not just to respond to instances of force but to be pro-active and safeguard our ideological climate. This isn’t Objectivism Ed.

      • Ed Mazlish

        Michael Niren: Do you have children? If so, do you turn away from the ideas and values of the children with whom yours associates? Do you work on the assumption that because you have taught your child well, any bad influences into which your child comes into contact won’t change your child, but that your child will change those bad apples? Or do you consider the ideas and values of the children with whom your child associates to be of crucial importance, enough so that if necessary you will attempt to keep your child away from the bad influences?

        I realize that private action such as parenting has important differences from government action. But that just means we have to more closely watch the government action. The principle I have articulated is not just sound, but one that is followed by all rational people: stay away from the bad guys and associate with the good guys, as best as you reasonably can.

        And the principle is no less valid and no less applicable when rational people form a government to protect them from external threats.

  19. michaelniren55

    Ed: yes I have children. As a parent, I protect them from bad influences in the best way I can. But adults aren’t children. And that is my point. It’s not the role of gov’t to protect us adults from the circulation of bad ideas or from people who may disseminate them. Sure we should stay away from bad influences and use our reason to weed out the good ideas from the bad. But that is our choice, to think or not to think, as free agents. The famous quote: “It’s a Republic, if you can keep it” implied its preservation by the free choice of individuals and not by gov’t force.

  20. michaelniren55

    I will leave you all with this: That we live in a society that is not fully rights respecting and as a result, people can use the freedoms we have against us, is not a justification to abridge those freedoms. The solution is education, arguing for the right ideas insofar as we have the freedom of speech, mobility and assembly. It is a contradiction to deny liberty as a means to preserve it. The tighter you squeeze,the more statism you get.

  21. Lisa James

    I too switched from an open immigration to an essentially closed immigration position, for the reasons that Ed Powell gave.

    Culture is key. If you have open immigration into the US, its population will in short order become third world. If Europe has open immigration, its population will become Muslim. Not having welfare or not permitting immigrants to vote will delay turning the US into a third world country or the European nations becoming Muslim, but it will happen sooner or later. I see no way of getting around this. Ed’s example of Lebanon is good. I don’t see the counter-examples.

    And for the life of me I don’t understand why someone such as Harry Binswanger (whom I respect) can’t see this. And not only doesn’t he see this, he apparently thinks the opposite is happening. He says that immigrants are “self-selected for their virtue” and that they are “refreshing” our country, leaving their old cultures behind, and even reducing crime. Doesn’t he read the paper? The Somalis in Minnesota are refreshing the culture of the moribund Scandinavians there? Dearborn is a center of learning? When Dr. Binswanger heard that 2 Muslims from Chechnya were arrested for the Boston Marathon bombing he was surprised?

    If the Muslims in Europe are self-selected for their virtue, I’d hate to see the non-virtuous ones. A couple of weeks ago there was a horrible murder/stabbing of 3 people at an Ikea store in Sweden. Well, it turns out it was done by two immigrants from Eritrea. (Remember, Dr. Binswanger opposes screening.)

    I hate to pick on Dr. Binswanger, but his views are the most striking and consistent of the open immigration position.

    • One comment on Lisa’s excellent post. In Sweden, they are essentially no longer prosecuting rape, unless it is so egregious and public that they can’t avoid doing so. Why? Because essentially all the rapists are muslim, rapes are increasing dramatically, and that fact can only be evaded if rape is no longer punished, and the crimes or the religion of the perpetrators covered up. Evasion is the sine qua non of the Swedish government these days, evasion of the effect their open borders policy is having on their country. An anti-open-borders party has now over 25% support in their parliament, with its support having doubled every single year for the last 5 years. One more doubling and they will control the government. All the stops have been pulled out by the powers that be in Sweden to smear the Sweden Democrat Party as fascist, racist, evil. But it isn’t working. Swedes are waking up. Americans are waking up too. Will it be too late?

      • “Evasion is the sine qua non of the Swedish government these days, evasion of the effect their open borders policy is having on their country. . . . Swedes are waking up. Americans are waking up too. Will it be too late?”

        Americans are waking up to what? The failure of our “open border policy”? What exactly is the nature of our “open border policy”? How does our “open border policy” compare with, for one, Harry Binswanger’s argument for “open immigration” in his essay “Open Immigration”?

        I think it needs to be said that although Binswanger spends most of his essay explaining and arguing in support of “open immigration,” he does *not* argue for “open borders,” nor even for unrestricted immigration regardless of the context. As he says, “Things are different in wartime, or when an epidemic breaks out in a certain region, of course, but what about peacetime?”

        • I meant waking up to the effect of our current open borders (de facto if not de jure) is having on the United States.

          I’ve read Dr. Binswanger’s public article, but I’ve also seen his private article, and it is 100% open borders, indeed no borders. This is evident in his HBL version of “Open Immigration” where he says border crossing stations should be replaced by “Welcome to America” signs. This differs from his Forbes article where he allows for screening for criminals and infectious diseases. The subject became so toxic on HBL I never got to ask him why his public article was so much more moderate than his private article. Certainly he never explained such a radical change in his thinking, or explained why he evolved from no borders stations to border stations that keep out criminals and infectious people but no others.

          Perhaps he doesn’t realize what a HUGE step this is. If there are border inspections–for any reason at all, even for the most innocuous ones–then most people (even most Americans) will simply go around them. Why wait in an inspection line if you can walk a few hundred yards up the border and cross without inspection? If there is no immigration enforcement, no wall, no penalty for coming to the country illegally, definitely no deportation risk, why would anyone wait in line at a border crossing? Harry doesn’t seem to realize that what he probably thought of as a minor concession for the purposes of not alienating too many Forbes readers was in fact an ENORMOUS change in the effects of his policies. Want to keep out criminals? Then you need a wall. Want to keep out infectious people? Ditto. Want to keep out terrorists? Wall again. It’s wall as far as the eye can see. No borders: no wall. Any border restrictions at all: wall, passports, visas, permits, enforcement, illegal immigration, deportation. If you are going to enforce ANY restriction at all, no matter how small, all these things come as a consequence. That’s why the no borders position is so strikingly popular among hardcore libertarians and Objectivists: look at all this government action we can eliminate by just let everyone in and wait, Michael Niren-like, until they commit a crime. Harry simply skipped over this part of the equation as he glided from no borders to a little borders without thinking of it. Any restrictions implies a wall.

          But, but, but, I hear you cry, we don’t have a wall with Canada!!! Exactly my point. Canada is a free, prosperous, Anglosphere country that promotes the rule of law (and is, incidentally, the home to the nicest people on Earth). Of course we don’t need a wall with Canada–THE PEOPLE THERE RESPECT THEIR LAWS AND OURS. If we set up a border crossing with Canada, but no fence at all, such that a given Canadian could walk 20 yards in either direction to avoid the station, THEY’D ALL PEACEFULLY STAND IN LINE AND WAIT THEIR TURN ANYWAY. ‘Cause that’s how awesome Canadians are. Third worlders, not so much.

          Finally the issue of “wartime” versus “peacetime” has been raised by numerous people. Look at American history. Except for a few years between WWI and WWII–just a few years–the United States has been at war its entire history with one power or another. The Indian Wars alone lasted from 1622 to 1919. We’ve been at war with Mexico on and off forever and are arguably fighting a low-intensity border war with them today. We’ve been at war with the Iranians since 1979. We are at war with the Islamic State. We are *this close*–imagine two fingers held microscopically apart–from a war with China over their aggression in the South China Sea and with Russia over their invasion of the Ukraine. This last could move to WWIII very quickly if that lunatic Putin does what everyone expects him to do and invades Estonia, ostensibly on behalf of oppressed ethnic Russians but actually to break NATO. The United States is ALWAYS at war with someone. If you ask the Caliph, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the United States is at war with the entire Ummah. And come to think of it, Abu, I actually agree with you on that one. THERE IS NO PEACETIME. There is only war, continuous war, as far back as the eye can see and as far forward as the eye can see. The libertarians want us to unilaterally surrender from all of these conflicts and retreat back into fortress America, and again, I can see the appeal of this, though I strongly disagree with it. This type of policy is akin to Churchill’s dictum that the appeasers want to feed the crocodile in hopes they’ll be eaten last. Well, I don’t want to be eaten at all.

          So we have one and only one immigration policy: a wartime one. Because we are never at peace. This is just a fact. And in war, you must protect your borders independent of all the other arguments I made above (welfare, political, and cultural).

          • “I meant waking up to the effect of our current open borders (de facto if not de jure) is having on the United States.”

            Tell that to all those who cannot now freely immigrate.

            “I’ve read Dr. Binswanger’s public article, but I’ve also seen his private article, and it is 100% open borders, indeed no borders. This is evident in his HBL version of “Open Immigration” where he says border crossing stations should be replaced by “Welcome to America” signs.”

            I’ve read his HBL essay “Open Immigration” and have now reread his three Forbes articles related to immigration (you did not specify which one you were referring to):

            1) “Let’s Call The Democrats’ Bluff On Immigration”
            2) “Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants Is Not Enough, They Deserve An Apology”
            3) “Anti-Immigration Rhetoric Frighteningly Reveals Education’s Failure”
            4) “Open Immigration”

            How can there be border crossing stations replaced with a “Welcome to America” sign if there is no border?

            He does not advocate for “no borders,” whatever that is supposed to mean. Borders define jurisdiction, not ownership of the country.

            As Dr. Binswanger says in “Open Immigration”: “This is a defense of a policy of absolutely open immigration, without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports. . . . The government does not own the country. It has jurisdiction over the territory, but jurisdiction is not ownership. Nor does the majority own the country. America is a country of private property.”

            Again, “without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports” is not a denial of the existence of borders.

            And once again, he says: “Things are different in wartime, or when an epidemic breaks out in a certain region, of course, but what about peacetime?” 4

            “This differs from his Forbes article where he allows for screening for criminals and infectious diseases.”

            I do not see any mention of screening per se for criminals and infectious diseases in any of his immigration-related Forbes articles. I do see: “Entry into the United States should ultimately be free for any foreigner, absent objective evidence of criminal intent or infectious disease,” and “an immigration policy that excludes criminals is proper.” 3

            No mention in any of his articles of screening at the borders for either criminal intent or for infectious diseases. No mention of just how he would go about identifying those who have criminal intent nor infectious diseases at the border.

            Perhaps, for example, he would not have even allowed those people who were sick with Ebola, as was recently the case, to travel to the the country from those countries experiencing the outbreak. What would you suggest instead? Set up screening or testing stations for Ebola for everyone coming into the country, at all points of entry or at all border crossings?

            With respect to screenings:

            —’The crucial point is often overlooked: in its efforts to capture or bar criminals, the government may not violate the rights of the innocent. That means, no detention at borders, no demand to produce “papers” or “passports,”— such procedures violate the rights of the innocent. In order to interfere with a man’s free movement, the state needs to show “probable cause”—which means specific evidence against the specific individual, not the indiscriminate subjection of everyone to a screening process.

            —’There is no more authority to demand papers at the border than there is for the police to board a city bus and demand papers of everyone on it. A man, citizen or non-citizen, is to be presumed innocent. He does not have to satisfy the government that he is not a criminal, in the absence of any evidence that he is.

            —’At the nation’s borders, instead of “inspection,” there should simply be a sign: “Welcome to America.”

            —’Things are different in wartime, or when an epidemic breaks out in a certain region, of course, but what about peacetime?’

            “Certainly he never explained such a radical change in his thinking, or explained why he evolved from no borders stations to border stations that keep out criminals and infectious people but no others.”

            Given that he does not call for “borders stations to border stations that keep out criminals and infectious people but no others” in peacetime in any of his Forbes articles, where you said he does, then I see no radical change in his thinking nor evidence of his having “evolved from no borders stations to border stations that keep out criminals and infectious people but no others.”

            His caveat about wartime or when an epidemic breaks out has not changed. There is no radical or even minor change in his thinking among the various articles. Perhaps that is why he “doesn’t realize what a HUGE step this is.” Because there is no HUGE step.

            “If there is no immigration enforcement, no wall, no penalty for coming to the country illegally, definitely no deportation risk, why would anyone wait in line at a border crossing?”

            No immigration enforcement? Not true. Open immigration does not imply that anyone may immigrate no matter the context (wartime for instance) or regardless of whether they have criminal intent or infectious diseases.

            The only question is, how would Dr. Binswanger propose identifying those with criminal intent or infectious diseases.

            No wall? True. “Building the Berlin wall to keep people in was horrendously immoral. But so is building a wall around a nation to keep people out. The right to freedom of travel is violated by any kind of governmental wall.” #3

            As to deportation risk, I don’t know why you think that there would be no such risk under an “open immigration” policy. If someone, after entering the country, proved to be criminal, for example, I see no reason that there would not be such a risk.

            “Harry doesn’t seem to realize that what he probably thought of as a minor concession for the purposes of not alienating too many Forbes readers was in fact an ENORMOUS change in the effects of his policies.”

            Given what I’ve read, what you referred to, I do not see any reason for any ENORMOUS change in the effects of his policies, because there’s no “HUGE step” or “radical change in his thinking,” in evidence in the various articles you referenced, contrary to your claim.

            “That’s why the no borders position is so strikingly popular among hardcore libertarians and Objectivists: look at all this government action we can eliminate by just let everyone in and wait . . . until they commit a crime. Harry simply skipped over this part of the equation as he glided from no borders to a little borders without thinking of it. Any restrictions implies a wall.”

            To say that Objectivists favor “the no borders position” due to “all this government action we can eliminate by just let everyone in and wait…until they commit a crime” is nonsense. The reason Objectivists (some at least) favor “open immigration” is a matter of consistency with the principle of individual rights, not eliminating government action per se in the manner of anti-government libertarians.

            “Any restrictions implies a wall.”

            We have restrictions NOW and do not have a wall.

            “THERE IS NO PEACETIME . . . So we have one and only one immigration policy: a wartime one. Because we are never at peace. This is just a fact. And in war, you must protect your borders independent of all the other arguments I made above (welfare, political, and cultural).”

            I see. We’re at war at all times and therefore need a wall, but we don’t need a wall with Canada because we’re not at war, presumably in your view, with Canada. And yet THERE IS NO PEACETIME and we must have a wall.

            Again, the context of “open immigration” is a free country with respect to rights-respecting immigrants, who, contrary to all the claims that they do not have a right to immigrate, in fact do have a right to immigrate. Rights mean that an individual has the right to take any action as long as he does not violate the rights of others. There is nothing inherent in crossing a border that violates anyone’s rights. In a context in which an immigrant does pose an objective threat, then barring entry is not a violation of anyone’s rights.

            If we are going to retain our welfare state and if we are not going to defeat our enemies, then we have already given up on freedom.

      • Lisa James

        Ed,

        There is an interesting statistic in Coulter’s book. Native Danes rank tenth in crime committed in Denmark. Somalia, Iranians, Ethiopians are all higher. The only European group in the top ten are Serbians.

  22. There is a difference between immigration and invasion. This needs to be taken into consideration in this debate.

  23. Lisa James

    I’d like to point out that I am not misrepresenting Dr. Binswanger’s views. He recently reposed on his website/blog an essay entitled “For Open Immigration.”

  24. I want to thank the generous comments of Amy, Grant, Wendy, Lisa and others, and I fully accept Wendy’s fact checking–I wrote the post off the top of my head, so I’m sure I misremembered a few details.

    I wanted to take a moment to address Michael Niren’s issue that people have a right to go anywhere they want irrespective of national borders, and Wendy’s and Grant’s (and my) disagreement, in the context of Objectivism.

    I have maintained for years that what we have here is a gap in Objectivism, in that the theory of the “political unit”, whether nation, state, or just “country” was never addressed by Ayn Rand, and only peripherally addressed by other Objectivists. Ayn Rand wrote about man’s rights, and that the only legitimate government is one that respects them, but she never wrote anything about what we might call “political science.” What is a country, anyway? Objectivism provides no answers.

    Why should Israel exist, and not be part of Jordan? Why should Iraq exist and not be split into three or more countries? Why, even, should the United States exist and not be split into more reasonably governable and homogenous units? You can’t look to Objectivist writings on these issues because none exist. Why shouldn’t there be one global government, charged with respecting all the rights of everyone?

    To understand “countries” one cannot look to Objectivist theories, as compelling as Ayn Rand’s writings are with regard to politics, but to actual history. One must immerse oneself in the actual facts that led to the creation of countries, why they exist, what prerogatives they have had over the years and why, and how they should interact both with each other as countries as well as with individuals of other countries. There is no rationalist answer to these questions, where you can start with axioms and derive and derive until you get the answer you want. You must immerse yourself in 2,500 years of history to figure these things out.

    To clarify a little on the term “nation-state”. In political science, “nations” are groups of people bound by a common culture, language, religion, and most of the time, ethnicity. A “state” is a government with jurisdiction over a certain area. A “nation-state” is thus a country whose extent is more-or-less coincident with a “nation”, e.g., France. Many countries are nation-states, such as France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, etc. Many are not, such as The United Kingdom, China, Iraq, Russia, etc. A “state” that contains more than one “nation” is generally termed an “empire.” The United States started as an empire (called “an empire of liberty” by our founders), became a nation during and after the Civil War, but has now degenerated (in my opinion) to an empire again, as we no longer have a common culture, language, or religion throughout the USA. (A parenthesis inside my parenthetical discussion: our brand of atheism as Objectivists would not be out of place too much in the Enlightenment view of religion, and so should not be seen as too radical a departure from the mainstream Enlightenment “Christian” thought of the 18th and 19th centuries. For more on the essential emptiness of Christianity, just ask.)

    This problem with the lack of a coherent Objectivist political science, I think, is the essence of our disagreement with Michael Niren. I know many of the people who voice support of Ed Mazlish and me from other forums, and they are like me passionate students of history. We have, each to our best degree, filled in this gap in Objectivism based on our understanding of history informed by Ayn Rand’s basic principles. I’m sure if we were all in a bar arguing over this, we might all disagree about some point or another, mainly because this is an entirely unstudied field and we are all working alone. (It would be a good time, though.) But we are all doing our Aristotelian best by looking out at the world as it really is, and trying to generalize from actual historical facts.

    Nevertheless, the point remains, we have all come to the conclusion based on our extensive readings of history that excluding an individual foreigner from entering the United States IS NOT A VIOLATION OF THAT PERSON’S RIGHTS. No more so that excluding random people from our houses (though this is admittedly a weak analogy). We do NOT believe this is a “collectivist” act, but a PROPER ACT OF SELF-DEFENSE, because countries are certain actual things with certain actual natures in fact in reality, and countries that are good at protecting the rights of their citizens have been known to fall into despotism PRECISELY because they did not exercise this one act of self-defense. This is not a rights-violation, this is not collectivism, this is just the way the world is.

    Do I wish all countries were like Maryland and Virginia, where we could all move at will between them, guaranteed by a benign rights-protecting global government akin to our Federal government? NO, I EMPATICALLY DO NOT! If you don’t know why I respond this way, I suggest you check your premises.

  25. Lisa James

    I think Ed is correct that there is a gap in Objectivist theory here. And these questions have no ready answers. For example, what if the majority of people in Quebec want to be independent but the majority of Canadians want it to be part of Canada? I don’t have a good answer to that question. Some time decentralization is good, sometimes it isn’t.

    These questions are to some extent important in laying a foundation for a rational immigration policy. I’d note that Rand (to the best of my knowledge) didn’t write anything on immigration, although her occasional comments about it were favorable. But Rand wasn’t talking at a time when massive Islamic immigration was a threat to Europe’s existence, for example.

    There is a larger question about the relationship of culture and ethnicity for the nation state. Are ethnically homogeneous nations more stable? To some, such as Harry Binswanger, anyone who raises this question in the context of immigration is racist. I don’t think I’m being unfair to him:

    _________________

    What has happened to America? When did the land of the free become “You can’t land here”? Did we fight a Civil War to end slavery, in order then to put a wall around the country and keep “undesirables” out? Did we fight against Nazism in order to make our own class of “untermenschen,” and to have petty tyrants demand: “Where are your papers?!”

    I’m very afraid that the actual reason for limiting immigration is xenophobia, which is simply a polite word for racial bigotry.

    ________________

    If the US, UK or France immigration restrictionist is a racial bigot, then I don’t see how Dr. Binswanger can avoid calling the Israeli Jew who wants to restrict Islamic immigration a racist as well.

    Some times open immigration Objectivists will say that Israel is entitled to restrict immigration because it’s at war. But it’s not at war with Jordan, Malaysia or Indonesia. On what principle can it prevent Muslims from these countries to freely enter and become a majority?

    • Yep, crying “racism” is the last gasp of the person without a rational argument. I’m shocked–okay, not *that* shocked–that Dr. Binswanger falls into this trap.

      • And why, Ed Powell, are you not *that* shocked that Dr. Binswanger falls into this trap of crying “racism”, the last gasp of the person without a rational argument?

        Because he has a history of saying things without a rational argument, such that you are no longer shocked by his irrational statements?

      • Ed Powell, I see that you’re not going to respond to my questions about your insulting attack on Harry Binswanger.

        You owe him an apology. I wouldn’t accept it, were I him, but you owe it nonetheless. (You have certainly earned my low estimate of your character, as well as your reasoning.)

        • Well, my attempt at a little smart-assery obviously fell a little flat. Dr. Binswanger does not have a good argument, because his argument is completely rationalist. This is not the first time he has made such a rationalist argument. He made essentially the same argument against gun control. Now, I am myself totally against gun control, and am a complete expert on the topic in all its manifestations, and can write for pages on the subject (which I’ll spare you), but that didn’t stop me from reacting negatively to Dr. Binswanger’s article against gun control because of the obvious rationalism in it. Rationalist arguments don’t in fact help the good guys. Ditto for his immigration argument. It deals with no actual facts, merely deductions from previously deduced principles devoid of connection to reality. Now at this stage of the game, I merely disagree with his position, but I totally understand his position because 20 years ago it was my position, before I actually went out into the world and saw the actual damage being done to the United States. I travel extensively throughout California and Texas, with a little Arizona thrown in, and I can tell you it is really bad. Hell, it’s bad in places here in Northern Virginia. The inside of my house’s attic, which I built new, is spray-painted with MS-13 gang signs.

          What makes me annoyed with Dr. Binswanger is that he can’t seem to realize that we on the non-open-borders side of this issue are in fact arguing in good faith. We are not racists, we are not anti-any-individual-immigrant per se, but we are anti-open borders because of the actual effects this policy will have on the United States as it current is in reality. To say that we need to drastically reign in third world immigration is not because the people have brown or black skin, but that they have a toxic culture that is plainly destructive to America. Dr. Leonard Peikoff on his podcast discussion of immigration mentioned the first two of my issues mentioned way up the comment stream, welfare and democracy, but left out the crucial third piece, culture. That’s what I wanted to bring to this discussion. On, HBL, on the other hand, I was disallowed from bringing up this discussion because Dr. Binswanger shut it down before anyone could really get to write their articles. Plus, even before he shut down discussion, he limited articles to 400 words each (which you can tell I’m not suited for) and he continually fisked my submissions such that any unbiased reader couldn’t possibly understand what I was trying to say. Sure, it’s his forum, and he can set any rules he wants, but I don’t have to pay him for the privilege of being condescend to, denigrated, silenced, and then in a Forbes article called a racist.

          So, yeah, maybe apologies are required on both sides. I’m certainly willing to apologize if my smart-ass remark went over the line. But is he?

          • Grant Jones

            Ed, well said. This nice thing about being a rationalist is that you don’t need to know anything about the topic at hand.

          • “Well, my attempt at a little smart-assery obviously fell a little flat.”

            I see, so you were not being serious but just a little bit of a “smart-ass” even though, in your view, Binswanger’s argument is rationalistic, as others of his arguments have been, and he has condescended to you, denigrated you, silenced you, and then in a Forbes article called you a racist.

            Makes perfect sense.

            And just where and in what Forbes article did Binswanger call you a racist? I’d like to see if he really did.

            “Dr. Binswanger does not have a good argument, because his argument is completely rationalist. This is not the first time he has made such a rationalist argument. . . . Rationalist arguments don’t in fact help the good guys. . . . It deals with no actual facts, merely deductions from previously deduced principles devoid of connection to reality.”

            You would perhaps have an argument were Dr. Binswanger to be appealing to “deduced principles,” but he is not. He is appealing to an induced principle, the principle of individual rights, which is not devoid of connection to reality, although perhaps you believe that it is both devoid of connection to reality and deduced (from what, I have no idea).

            “Dr. Leonard Peikoff on his podcast discussion of immigration . . . left out the crucial third piece, culture. That’s what I wanted to bring to this discussion.”

            I see, so you want to protect the culture from inimical ideologies. That is what Ed Mazlish wants to do as well. Perhaps it is time that we limit what ideas are made available to the people in this country via books and the internet, etc., what ideas are allowed in schools and universities, etc.?

            “So, yeah, maybe apologies are required on both sides. I’m certainly willing to apologize if my smart-ass remark went over the line. But is he?”

            I very much doubt that if Binswanger called you a racist he was merely being a “smart-ass.” But then I think he has integrity.

          • Lisa James

            Dr. Binswanger has written some excellent stuff. His recent book on epistemology is quite good. To say “immigrants are self-selected for their virtue” might be a reasonable belief if there were minimal immigration.

            But in the last 40 years there has been mass third world immigration into the US and mass Islamic immigration into Europe. So there is empirical evidence. Project forward to a majority third world US and a majority Muslim Europe.

            I really wish Dr. Binswanger would say “an Islamic Europe would be good because . . . .” or an “Islamic Europe would be bad because . . . .”

  26. tz

    Require a sponsor. Sponsor must put up a bond (refundable after departure or naturalization, or over years) used to pay any judgments, e.g. traffic accidents. Sponsor also becomes accessory to any crime sponsored immigrant commits.

    The flaw in the original proposal and mine is democracy. If you will not impose the rational law by force, someone will use force to impose a different law. Galt’s Gulch had what amounted to an impenetrable wall. Citizens were screened very carefully.

  27. Doug Reich

    The central purpose of government is to protect its people from invasion or attack. As part of that function, the state must define what it objectively regards as an attack. It is not only proper but essential for the government to properly define what it regards as an objective threat to the country. Immigration policy is an aspect of this function. If the Nazis showed up on our border in ww2, we would not have welcomed them in! We would have regarded them as enemies without having to observe each individual nazi and wait for them to commit an actual crime within our borders under the presumption of innocence. The policy we adopt requires a level of evaluation on many different levels. Without getting into all that, the important point is that a proper government does perform this function, ie, it evaluates persons outside the border and has general and specific rules which it applies to determine who is a threat and who is not.

  28. Doug Reich

    To elaborate more on my previous comment, a professional engineer from a western country who is being sponsored by a company and passes basic background checks should not be regarded as a threat and should in essence go the top of the list, a tier 1 immigrant so to speak. A criminal or militant is an obvious threat and it’s appropriate for the state to deny him entry. A person from a third world Muslim country with a history of war, poverty, and little rule of law who is uneducated and poor should not be in tier 1. They will have to wait and likely provide more proof that they are not a threat or seek a sponsor within the US who will employ them or house them as well as take a test to demonstrate basic understanding of our laws and culture. When the problem is understood in the context of the governments proper function as protecting against foreign invasion, a rational policy can be objectively constructed. It is most certainly no the “right” of anyone to cross the border without going through a process of evaluation. To abandon any evaluation is to default on the governments basic function.

    • Doug: But you are assuming that basic background checks of random individuals at the border is in keeping with the proper function of gov’t. How? Others have argued that perhaps Objectivism doesn’t have an answer; that national sovereignty is a matter of political science which hasn’t been fully explored. I read that as an attempt to smuggle in collectivism (calling it nationalism/sovereignty) to justify gov’t overreach. Nations are political entities that need protection. Let me say this again and this way: national security should be matter for the army, navy, marines, CIA but NOT for the customs officer. Immigration is not an invasion. Immigrants are not as a group a threat to national security. Therefore individuals in that group deserve the right to be presumed innocent and not be subject to screening.

  29. The difference in the ideological screening of immigrants and prosecution of “hate crimes” is a flaw in premise. That flawed premise is that the immigrants have to be accepted into the country in the first place. I am very much for legal immigration of those who are going to add to the country that they are immigrating to. Australia and New Zealand might be a little bit excessive in their immigration requirements for me, but their policy of requiring a very substantial upfront fee ensures that no moochers will immigrate there. Likewise, admission to the Gulch in Atlas Shrugged (AS) required ideological screening of immigrants as part of the invitation process. The “open immigration” policy arguments made by some Objectivists are thus inconsistent with AS.

  30. michaelniren55

    Doug: But you are assuming that basic background checks of random individuals at the border is in keeping with the proper function of gov’t. How? Others have argued that perhaps Objectivism doesn’t have an answer; that national sovereignty is a matter of political science which hasn’t been fully explored. I read that as an attempt to smuggle in collectivism (calling it nationalism/sovereignty) to justify gov’t overreach. Nations are political entities that need protection. Let me say this again and this way: national security should be matter for the army, navy, marines, CIA but NOT for the customs officer. Immigration is not an invasion. Immigrants are not as a group a threat to national security. Therefore individuals in that group deserve the right to be presumed innocent and not be subject to screening.

    • Wendy

      That mass immigration is not an invasion and that immigrants as a group are not a threat to national security is precisely the point of contention. Your assertion is that they are not, but no one from the open immigration side has presented evidence for this claim, and history shows that unchecked immigration is in fact lethal. It even brought down the Roman Empire. Wanting to believe that everyone who wants to come to America is an individualistic, bold, intelligent, independent Francisco d’Anconia doesn’t make it so. The reality is much more sordid.

  31. I really don’t see what facts of reality give rise to the idea that one has a natural right to cross a foreign border. That’s about as correct as thinking he has a right to a roof over his head. I hate to start from an abstraction here, but to short cut, I think we all agree at least that a man has a natural right to his life. That is not a right to my life or to any of those that make up my group, America. He can do the best with what is his, or attempt to earn/win his way into my group. But, the crucial point is that this is mine (ours) not his.

    I agree with those who say we have a right to our borders and it is the proper function of a rights respecting government to control immigration by considering only one thing, the interest of its own citizens, not the interests of another country’s citizens. For rights respecting people this must necessarily include, in addition to plain old immediate physical safety, the question of the importation of different cultures en mass. I think Ed Powel shared some excellent examples of why, e.g. how 100,000 somalis is quite different in reality that a few somali families here and there in terms of cultural changes, so I’ll leave it at that. But I will say that I am from Minneapolis and I have seen first hand the horrifying changes to that city as a result of mass third world, muslim immigration. If the Mall of America is not bombed in the next 5-10 years, I’ll eat my hat.

    • Grant Jones

      Sunny, thanks for providing your first-hand experiences on the result of the mass barbarian invasion of Minnesota. In California, the results of the massive Mexican invasion have not been that different. A wholesale increase in violent crime and entire areas being turned into a third world toilet. Sadly, the advocates of “no borders” on this page don’t seem interested in the predictable consequences of their very bad idea.

    • “No one has the right to pursue his self-interest by law or by force, which is what you’re suggesting [with closing the borders and impede immigration]. You want to forbid immigration on the grounds that it lowers your standards of living—which isn’t true, though if it were true, you’d still have no right to close the borders. You’re not entitled to any ‘self interest’ that injures others, especially when you can’t prove that open immigration affects your self interest. You can’t claim that anything others may do—for example, simply through competition—is against your self interest. But above all, aren’t you dropping a personal context? How could I advocate restricting immigration when I wouldn’t be alive today if our borders had been closed?” – AYN RAND, FORD HALL FORUM. For crying out loud, people.

      Dark is indeed the day when Objectivists turn away from the principles of freedom. Do you want your philosophy to die? Continue in this manner.

      • Keith, I don’t think I am turning away from the principles of freedom. I think if we are going to STAY free we need to restrict immigration. We are dealing with two foes of freedom who are very aggressive and they are winning: Islam and the Democrats. As Leonard Peikoff said, we are teetering on the edge of dictatorship.

        Here is an excerpt from your quote above that out of context could be used by any Progressive to convince you that you have no property rights: “You’re not entitled to any ‘self interest’ that injures others…” If you drop the context, then, if someone needs your food or your roof and they are in dire need, you must let them have it because otherwise they will be hurt and your self interest be damned. Is this what you think Ayn Rand meant?

  32. michaeln55

    Sunny said: “I really don’t see what facts of reality give rise to the idea that one has a natural right to cross a foreign border. That’s about as correct as thinking he has a right to a roof over his head”. But a roof is someone’s private property; it is produced and sold. A border isn’t “owned” by anyone nor is the land it surrounds. A country nor its borders is not a good, nor a service, nor is private property that neither owned and/or traded. If you then say “well its owned by the citizens”, my reply is that I don’t recognize the concept of collective ownership and such a concept contradicts and conflicts with the concept of private ownership

    • Wendy

      Borders are technically two-dimensional, but governments own them in the same sense as they own federal property. They have legitimate power over their borders and can set limits as to who comes across them. Do you believe that thousands of non-uniformed Russians can cross the border into Ukraine onto the adjacent land of sympathizers, because the Ukrainian government cannot “own” a border?

    • What is a country, then? What is a corporation? Collectivism isn’t a term you can use for anything groups do.

  33. Ed Mazlish

    Amy: In your OP, you write:

    “This [my, i.e., Ed Mazlish’s] is an unfair interpretation of Biddle’s position. Why would anyone in their right mind assume that “anyone appearing at the border” is rights respecting? I take Biddle to be advocating some form of background check, to make sure that the person appearing at the border has a track record of acting in a way consistent with being rights respecting.”

    I think the many comments in this thread insisting that screenings violate the presumption of innocence confirm that my interpretation of Biddle’s position was correct. I can confirm that I have asked Biddle directly what screenings he would endorse as a reasonable – and he he never identified one that would be acceptable to him.

    Likewise, I have on prior occasions asked some of the commenters in this thread – who similarly insist that I just do not understand the open immigration position – to identify the reasonable methods they would consider acceptable for ascertaining whether the person seeking entry in fact poses an objective risk. I have never received a substantive answer.

    Whenever critics of open borders point out the obvious – that in fact and in practice, open borders means no screenings whatsoever – the response is always “that’s not what open borders/open immigration means.” Instead of defining things by what they are not, it is incumbent on the advocates of open borders to explain how indiscriminately allowing anyone and everyone to enter a rights respecting country without screenings advances the security of the citizens of that country – or to accept responsibility for the reduction in their security that is the natural consequence of that “not in your right mind” policy.

    • Alfred the Great

      Ed,

      I suppose the question is who has the burden of proof.

      1. A Somalian shows up at a border checkpoint. He’s not on any terror watch list. He’s asked for a criminal background check. He says, correctly, they don’t have them in Somalia.

      2. A Mexican shows up at a border checkpoint. He has a criminal background check, but we know that these are easily paid for.

      If the immigrant has the burden of proof, then in neither of these cases he should be let in. Or, he should have to pay a huge fee for a lengthy investigation, one he probably couldn’t afford.

      Or do we simply say that because most people are law abiding, that they should be let in because it’s more likely that they are not criminals.

  34. Doug Reich

    The U.S. has a physical boundary for legal and historical reasons. People in certain other states, chose to join the union. For example, Texas did join. Mexico did not. Those boundaries demarcate the property line of the country. Is this an accident or is it appropriate for individuals to set up their government within a certain geographic boundary?

    The boundary acknowledges the claim by private property owners within the U.S. as to what they regard as their property and acknowledges that outside this border, there is no legal jurisdiction. These property owners agree to be bound by the laws of that jurisdiction, both the state and national, and the state registers their claim to the property and protects their rights within that area. In other words, there is a relationship both legal and practical between property owners and the state in which they reside. Outside this jurisdiction, there is no guarantee that rights will be respected by foreign governments or foreign individuals.

    The property outside this border exists under the legal jurisdiction of another nation. it is a recognition that the outside property belongs to someone else and that those property owners have chosen to be bound by a different jurisdiction which may or may not be antithetical to our own legal customs. Within our jurisdiction, individual states have no border controls because of their governments inclusion in the national union and citizens implied acknowledgement of the laws of the country.

    Why do we have a military? The state protects its citizens rights through a military which protects individuals from the threat of foreign attack or invasion. There is a legal separation between the forces which protect citizens within the jurisdiction from one another (the local police) and the force which protects them from foreign attacks. As part of this function, the state represents its citizens in determining whom to regard as a threat and how individuals are to interact with foreigners.

    For example, a private business within the US is, properly, not allowed to sell military equipment to Iran or North Korea, avowed enemies of the US. A platoon of Islamic militants should not be allowed to cross the border. However, it is almost always appropriate for US businesses to engage in commerce with Canada or Great Britain. Often, allied countries have treaties or a history of legal custom to govern such transactions and settle international disputes.

    Just as a private property owner may erect a fence around his property for defense, without a presumption of innocence, a country can erect a “fence” around its borders without a presumption of innocence. The country represents the individual private property owners within the country, like an HOA or condo board represents the individual owners of a house or condo within a specific area.

    There is no presumption of innocence because there is no allegation of a crime with respect to immigration. The legal process of determining who is allowed entry is NOT a criminal proceeding. It is part of a nation’s policy of protecting it’s own citizens by evaluating foreigners in the same way one answers his own door when the door bell rings. Such a policy does not violate anyone’s rights just as explaining to a homeowner why you are ringing his doorbell is not a violation of your rights. On the contrary, a policy of protecting citizens within a legal jurisdiction from those outside its borders is a profound enforcement of the principle of individual rights and the central purpose of government.

    • Ed Mazlish

      Doug Reich compares immigration screening to screening who rings your doorbell. I agree. And if the open borders advocates were consistent, they would advocate that under the presumption of innocence a rational person would open his door without ascertaining who has rung the doorbell. They would acknowledge that you have a right as a private property owner to ask who is coming to your property – but if they were correct about the presumption of innocence, they would acknowledge that asking who is at the door violates the presumption of innocence and is arbitrary action due to the lack of any evidence that the stranger is an objective threat. A rational person does not act arbitrarily generally, and certainly does not act arbitrarily with regard to his security and personal safety.

      If the open borders advocates were consistent, they would say that while you have a right to ask who is trying to come on to your property, such questioning is arbitrary and irrational under their theory of the presumption of innocence and burden of proof.

      • michaeln55

        Ed M says: “If the open borders advocates were consistent, they would say that while you have a right to ask who is trying to come on to your property, such questioning is arbitrary and irrational under their theory of the presumption of innocence and burden of proof” . That is mistaken. As I’ve said you can’t apply private property principles in the case of people crossing the border or traveling in the homeland which aren’t owned by anyone. And you don’t “screen” people who ring your door bell. Rather you permit them on your property to present themselves by introducing themselves (by ringing or knocking at your doorstep). Whose property is the border? Are immigrants “invited” onto someone’s land when seeking entry? Do they trespass? Against whom? Do we drive to Florida from Georgia “by invitation” of all Floridians? Do people come to the US by invitation of “the people” ? The presumption of innocence is NOT a factor when dealing in private affairs like people coming to your door. A private owner sets the terms period. But when it comes to the interaction between individuals and gov’t, it’s the opposite; it’s the gov’t that has the restraints because it has the guns. And therefore it can’t act against an individual unless there is probable cause, unless the presumption of innocence is challengeable in a given case and that person is a threat. So the gov’t doesn’t screen; it protects–protects people in the exercising of their rights and that includes immigrants exercising their rights to mobility.

  35. Doug Reich

    The burden of proof is on the immigrant. The U.S. Is private property – why should there be an obligation on its residents to let anyone in? As a rule, the policy should allow a U.S. Resident to bring someone in if they can prove they are qualified. As another rule, If they are not sponsored but have easily verifiable qualifications then they should be let in provisionally and pursue the requirements of citizenship. If you have no verifiable history and no one sponsoring you, then that is your problem, not mine. It is not my duty to vet you just like it’s not my duty to vet someone who rings my doorbell.

  36. michaeln55

    “The U.S. Is private property”. Really? Who is the owner?

    • Immigration

      What facts of reality give rise to the need for immigration control?

      Since war was declared in 1979 against the U.S. and its citizens by the Islamic State of Iran, Jihadists, Islamists, and Mohammedans, all of whom are under the explicit orders of the Koran to kill Americans and rule the United States, it is the duty of the American Government, not only to bar their entry into the U.S., regardless of who owns the particular U.S. border property, but to eliminate these enemies altogether.

      There is no infringement of individual rights on individuals whose ideology and purpose is actually an explicit threat of murderous action, of death to Americans and America. Such a threat is not free speech, but an action (concretized repeatedly since 1979) that is an infringement on, and violation of, the unalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness of every American individual.

      “You can’t protect individual rights by violating them.” Cynthia Gillis, HBL

      Cary Gossett

  37. Michael Smith

    I’d like to leave a question for Ed Powell, if he is still reading these comments. First, Ed, your comments contain many unsupported assertions: “50% of immigrant families take advantage of welfare benefits, compared to 25% of native-born families . . . ” That is only an example, there are others. Without some sourcing of that claim, it is unpersuasive. The world is awash in claims and when investigated, many prove to be either outright fabrications, statistically invalid conclusions, “junk science” etc.. So I am cautious.

    The same applies to a number of things you imply without proof or support, as, for instance, the implication that “importing 100,000 Somalis into Dearborn” will turn it into ” a center of chaos, misogyny, chid rape, crime, gangsterism, and jihad.” I realize you are relying on Ann Coulter’s book for that claim but it would be more persuasive if you referred us to whatever source SHE has for that claim.

    I also question the claim that Hispanic immigrants can be assumed to always vote for socialist/fascist Democrats. How do we know that the existing Hispanic immigrants voting record is not largely a result of the anti-immigrant view of most Republican politicians?

    Also, I don’t know why you haven’t directed these comments at the leading open borders advocates such as Dr. Binswanger. Certainly he has allowed the opposing viewpoint of Wendy to be expressed repeatedly.

    I think at the root of this dispute is an epistemological issue regarding burden of proof and threshold of proof.. To state that since some immigrants or even most immigrants from a given country accept welfare, all immigrants from that country should be banned is blatant collectivism. On the other hand, it would be a mass violation of the rights of all Americans to allow open immigration from a country experiencing a mass outbreak of a contagious disease. But what, exactly, is the principle that identifies the threshold beyond which it is rational and just to limit or even prohibit immigration?

    I don’t have a full answer to that question beyond saying that there are some pretty clear cases — I’d advocate open borders with Canada but completely closed ones to those from any country governed by a regime waging an active war against us, as many Islamic theocracies are doing — are two examples.

    • Alfred the Great

      “I also question the claim that Hispanic immigrants can be assumed to always vote for socialist/fascist Democrats. How do we know that the existing Hispanic immigrants voting record is not largely a result of the anti-immigrant view of most Republican politicians?”

      We know this because of public opinion polls. On issue after issue (Obamacare, taxes on the rich) Hispanics poll left center. Republicans actually do better on the issue of immigration than on these issues.

      In 2014, California passed a referendum raising the sales tax and taxes on the rich. It passed because of overwhelming Hispanic support. Kind of hard to argue that Hispanics want high taxes because they don’t like the Republicans on immigration.

    • Wendy

      “52 percent of legal immigrant households with children are on government assistance. In all, nearly 60 percent of immigrants–legal and illegal–are on government assistance, compared with 39 percent of native households.”
      Source: Steven A. Camarota, “Welfare Use by Immigrant Households with Children: A Look at Cash, Medicaid, Housing, and Food Programs,” Center for Immigration Studies, April 2011, http://cis.org/immigrant-welfare-use-2011

      • What is the sample size for native-born households?
        What is the sample size for immigrants?

        I am reminded of the certain saying that some people use statistics not unlike an inebriated man might use a lamp-post- for support instead of illumination.

        • Wendy

          No one disputes these numbers in the intellectual world. If immigrants were the Francisco d’Anconias that Objectivists want them to be, we would be hearing on a daily basis about how successful and welfare-free they are from both the leftstream and the right-wing media. Not a peep. Like I said, the facts are more sordid, which is exactly what one would expect when we are importing third worlders in waves.

        • Wendy

          Yesterday, the Center for Immigration Studies released a larger study based on Census Bureau data of 25,000 households. There was no difference in the rate of welfare use among immigrants from that detected in the last study. Natives had better stats than the previous study. The stereotype of ambitious, hard-working immigrants who pull their own weight, keep the economy going, and renew the American spirit applies only to some immigrants. It simply does not apply to most immigrants today. Most are welfare parasites.

          http://cis.org/Welfare-Use-Immigrant-Native-Households

          Excerpts:
          -In 2012, 51 percent of households headed by an immigrant (legal or illegal) reported that they used at least one welfare program during the year, compared to 30 percent of native households. Welfare in this study includes Medicaid and cash, food, and housing programs.

          -Most new legal immigrants are barred from welfare programs when they first arrive, and illegal immigrants are barred as well. But the ban applies to only some programs; most legal immigrants have been in the country long enough to qualify for at least some programs and the bar often does not apply to children; states often provide welfare to new immigrants on their own; naturalizing makes immigrants eligible for all programs; and, most important, immigrants (including illegal immigrants) can receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children who are awarded U.S. citizenship at birth.

    • Michael, I thought I was being extra careful in referring people to Ann Coulter’s book, which is at least one more reference than any of the other commenters! After all, it has all the references one might want in this circumstance. The 50%/25% number is one I’ve seen a bunch of other places though. Buy the Coulter book, read it, scour the 200 pages of footnotes, and if you can find where she (or I) am wrong, I’ll be happy to correct my position.

  38. Immigration

    What facts of reality give rise to the need for immigration control?

    Since war was declared in 1979 against the U.S. and its citizens by the Islamic State of Iran, Jihadists, Islamists, and Mohammedans, all of whom are under the explicit orders of the Koran to kill Americans and rule the United States, it is the duty of the American Government, not only to bar their entry into the U.S., regardless of who owns the particular U.S. border property, but to eliminate these enemies altogether.

    There is no infringement of individual rights on individuals whose ideology and purpose is actually an explicit threat of murderous action, of death to Americans and America. Such a threat is not free speech, but an action (concretized repeatedly since 1979) that is an infringement on, and violation of, the unalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness of every American individual.

    “You can’t protect individual rights by violating them.” Cynthia Gillis, HBL

    Cary Gossett

  39. Leonard Peikoff, in Episode 018 (June 16, 2008) of his podcast, in answer to the question: What would Ayn Rand say of the flooding of our country with Mexicans?:

    “In principle I hold it should free. It is not a function of the government to prevent foreigners from coming into this country as they wish. The fact that you are born in or already live in this country does not entitle to declare what should be done with the property and land that you don’t own or with the voluntary arrangements of other people. Nobody’s owns or controls what isn’t owned or controlled by individuals.

    “Now I think it’s proper for the government to restrict physical threats: known criminals, people with contagious diseases, foreign agents in times of war.

    “Now, what causes the problem today is the welfare state. It’s the handouts that are given to all the different immigrant groups as part of living here. . . . there is only one solution to it, and that is not to ban immigration, but to reinstate capitalism. And that’s the only practical solution anyway because there’s no way to seal the border even if you took the entire budget and the entire military and you stationed it all around from Canada, the water, etc., you still couldn’t stop it. I mean, you’re talking about so massive a territory that it’s ridiculous for them to build a wall near Mexico while the agents of the Immigration Service are being continually subverted, bribed and going over to the other side. It’s just ridiculous, the whole thing.

    “If you had capitalism, you would only attract a certain type of any culture including of Mexicans, the type that wanted to live the American mode of life, and that would be the type that fit into and promote the American culture.”

    —————————————–

    In Episode 119 (July 05, 2010) of his podcast, Dr. Peikoff replies to the question: What is the proper government attitude toward immigration?:

    “Now, in a capitalist society, a laissez-faire society, I would say the government has no function whatever and foreigners should be free to visit here, move here, acquire property and whatever. The principle of individual rights does not apply only to citizens, but also to foreigners since they are human. Of course, foreigners can engage in force, but assuming that they trade or whatever, they live here without the use of force, then everybody benefits and there is no problem. I’d just say parenthetically, the government has the right to monitor for and prevent immigration, objectively provable, physical, harmful—in actuality an objective threat—to the citizens of the country. So, for instance, someone who bears a contagious physical disease, a known criminal, a potential member of an enemy at war, all these are absolutely subject to governmental investigation and refusal to let them in. But those are not cases we’re generally talking about in this question.

    “Now, as I say, that would be applicable in a capitalist society. But what about in today’s society, which is an advanced welfare state which offers many many free, unearned services to the “needy” wherever they come from?”

    And he goes on to discuss how immigration should be viewed in the context of our welfare state (decidedly in favor of the citizens due to the contradiction of the policy of the country. But ultimately, as he says in Episode 018, “there is only one solution to it, and that is not to ban immigration, but to reinstate capitalism.”

    —————————————–

    As to the threat of immigration of individuals from enemy countries, in Episode 129 (September 13, 2010) of his podcast, on the issue of whether even in a laissez-faire country would have to, in the name of individual rights, “accept all immigrants even if it resulted in becoming Muslim and having Sharia imposed?,” he says:

    “Certainly, it is not obligated. It is obligated to prevent that situation, which is just what Europe is doing the opposite of and is soon going to disappear as Europe.

    “A proper government has the right and the duty to defend the nation against use of force at home or abroad, whether that threat is actual or there is evidence, objective evidence, that it is possible.

    “Now, a sect or religion which merely preaches force and no connection with acting per se will be no threat, because people can preach whatever they want, the dominate culture will simply absorb them.

    “But if that sect or religion is backed by governments and more than one government and has a slew of terrorists representing those governments, even though they remain in hiding, who have declared war on the west as is true today, then all right of immigration from any part of that world or anyone subscribing to that viewpoint is terminated. That doesn’t mean that every Muslim is guilty. What it does mean is that there has to be extra scrutiny to see if there is any history of association with a terrorist government or terrorist groups or terrorist mosques, if there’s any existential connection, any financial support, any help to allies. If it is merely they believe in the Koran, then that is not a problem. But if there’s any suspicion that they are going to support Sharia, that in itself disqualifies them from rationally being allowed into the country, and here I say, you do not have to have powerful, you just to have to have some evidence. The life of our civilization is in the balance.

    “Now, properly speaking, this type of problem should be solved by war, not by immigration. We did not counter the threat of the fascists and the Japanese in World War II by checking immigration. We declared war and there was no such problem with immigration. But our government has repudiated its role, has given up, has turned over the United States to its enemies, its…to my knowledge—I’m not a good historian—the greatest appeaser in the history of man, and they are doing that against the most evil enemy trying to destroy the once greatest country. In the face of that, I cannot even conceive of a person, let alone an alleged Objectivist, saying, “But these people haven’t been proven in the courts of law, and therefore we should let them come in and take over the country.”

    —————————————–

    Lastly, in his reply to “Why is there no agreement among Objectivists on the issue of immigration?,” in Episode 362 (March 02, 2015), Yaron Brook says:

    “I think the answer is that the application of abstract ideas of abstract philosophy is not easy, and that there’s disagreement here not on what the position on immigration would be in a free society, but what the position would be on this particular issue in a mixed economy. And I think that in a mixed economy on any particular policy, there’s probably disagreement among Objectivists over a lot of different things, over a lot of different issues, specific issues, like this. There’s disagreement about how bad things are today; about the net effect, for example, immigrants have; about how close we are to complete collapse as a society; about where the immigrants would come from; about the type of people who immigrate or wouldn’t immigrate.

    “So the actual, practical questions in a mixed economy, in a mixed world, are not that easy to sort out, to figure out. It’s the same about: well, is there agreement among Objectivists about how to phase out Social Security? Probably not. There are probably five, six different view out there on how to do it. Some people believe: go cold turkey, eliminate it tomorrow. I don’t share that belief; I think you need to ease us out of it over a generation. It should be a generation. It should be ten years, maybe five years, maybe seventeen years.

    “I think everybody agrees on the ultimate kind of open immigration view in a free society. But how do we get there? Do we get there by going cold turkey today, opening up the borders and that’s it? Do we get there by increasing immigration today? Do we get there by shutting down immigration today but committing to bringing it up tomorrow?

    “So there are a lot of issues of implementation and how we get from here to there along the way that I think are valid disagreements within the context of a complex world that is made very murky by the mixed economy.”

    —————————————–

    To easily find these various podcasts, search by the questions or keywords from them at Dwayne Davies Index to Dr. Peikoff’s Podcast:

    http://peikoffquestfinder.metaofphysics.com/

    Any errors in transcription are my own.

    • Romello Dellomand

      One thing I dont understand is the claim by Leonard Peikoff, Harry Binswanger, Yaron Brook etc. that military action against Iran and other terrorist nations would end the risk of Islamic terrorism in the West.

      Can anyone explain why for example the Chattanooga shooting wouldn’t have happened? You need to be trained by Iran to shoot up a building?

      Or is the argument that war against Islamic states would convince Muslins that terrorism is futile?

      The analogy with Nazi Germany or Japan isn’t a good one. Muslims belong to the Umma not a particular nation.

      Judaism continued after Rome destroyed the temple in 70ad fifty years later the Roman’s had to destroy Jerusalem again. Im not comparing the two religions.

      • Lisa James

        I too do not understand this argument.

        For example, Algerians riot in France on New Years, the riot when Algeria qualifies for the world cup, they riot when Algeria doesn’t win the world cup.

        And Harry Binswanger wants the West to take military action against Iran and its client states while at the same allowing tens of millions of Muslims into Europe. Entire European cities will be set on fire.

    • I very respectfully disagree with Dr. Peikoff here that the government can’t make statistics-based immigration restrictions, rather than individual-based ones. The US government’s purpose is to protect the rights of Americans, not the rights of those citizens of other countries. They have no prima facia right to come to the US. If they did, then we could have no screenings at all. After all, I’m not screened when I travel from Virginia to Maryland, EVEN if I have an infectious disease, or EVEN if I were a convicted criminal. Why? Because it’s my RIGHT to travel to Maryland. That’s what a right looks like. When you abandon the idea that foreigners have RIGHT to come here, then the US can institute whatever policy toward foreigners that it thinks is necessary to protect the country. The only ration policies take a statistical approach to potential immigrants (based on their country of origin) and back that up with real liability from third parties. Individual screenings done by the government are simply impossible, they are completely incompetent at this. (Listen to the podcast for my comments here). No reasonable person complains when insurance companies make decisions based on statistics, why is it such a huge rights violation for the US government to make decisions based on statistics on how to treat foreigners? The US government owes nothing to foreigners. It’s pure altruism to say that the US has to take an unlimited number of foreigners into our country, NO MATTER WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES WOULD BE for that policy.

      • ” I’m not screened when I travel from Virginia to Maryland, EVEN if I have an infectious disease, or EVEN if I were a convicted criminal. Why? Because it’s my RIGHT to travel to Maryland.”

        I see, so if you have an infectious disease, it would be a violation of your rights were you to be quarantined because you have a RIGHT to travel. And if you’re a convicted criminal, it would be a violation of your rights were you to be imprisoned because you have a RIGHT to travel.

        “When you abandon the idea that foreigners have RIGHT to come here, then the US can institute whatever policy toward foreigners that it thinks is necessary to protect the country.”

        Certainly, and when abandon the idea that individuals have RIGHTS, then the government can institute whatever policy towards individuals that it thinks is necessary to “protect the country” or for any other reason.

  40. Ed Mazlish

    Applying a presumption of innocence in the context of immigration and in the context of judging whether a foreigner seeking entry into the society poses a threat or offers friendship and value, is multiculturalism. Not all cultures are equal, and while not all individuals are defined by the culture from which they come, if the ONLY information we are permitted to examine in judging them is their country of origin, then the only fact based evidence we have is a comparison of cultures.

    It would be better if we did a more individualized screening of persons who seek entry into the society – but that is precisely what the open borders advocates reject when they insist that we simply presume all those seeking entry as not threats.

  41. Old Toad

    Illegal Immigration: Who Initiates Force Against Whom

    I’m late to “the party,” too. My understanding is Ed Mazlish was responding, at least in part, to Harry Binswanger’s articles.

    In Harry Binswanger’s article “Open Immigration,” http://www.hblist.com/immigr.htm, (2014) he argues for “a policy of absolutely open immigration, without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports.” In particular, he argues:

    [quote]The crucial point is often overlooked: in its efforts to capture or bar criminals, the government may not violate the rights of the innocent. That means, no detention at borders, no demand to produce “papers” or “passports,”— such procedures violate the rights of the innocent. In order to interfere with a man’s free movement, the state needs to show “probable cause”—which means specific evidence against the specific individual, not the indiscriminate subjection of everyone to a screening process.

    There is no more authority to demand papers at the border than there is for the police to board a city bus and demand papers of everyone on it. A man, citizen or non-citizen, is to be presumed innocent. …[/quote]

    In addition, Binswanger published a provocative article in Forbes magazine entitled “Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants Is Not Enough, They Deserve an Apology” http://www.forbes.com/sites/harrybinswanger/2013/03/04/amnesty-for-illegal-immigrants-is-not-enough-they-deserve-an-apology/ (2013).

    One of Binswanger’s premises is that a person has the right to travel, including internationally; however, this is not an out-of-context absolute. The “right to travel” or “freedom of movement” is the right to leave, not to enter. For example, on the individual level, the right to travel means a person should not be imprisoned, but does not mean there is any right to enter another person’s private property without the owner’s permission.

    Another of Binswanger’s premises is that a person has the right to invite anyone who he wishes into his property; however, this is not an out-of-context absolute, either. For example, a person has no right to harbor criminals or enemy agents of a foreign power. But why not?

    Binswanger argues a country does not belong to the government and there are no “collective” rights. True, so why not allow such harboring on private property?

    Because so-called “collectivized rights” should not be confused with political control over “delegated rights.”

    A civilized government does not represent so-called “collectivized” rights of the society any more than the management structure of a corporate entity represents “collectivized” property of a multitude of stockholders. In each case, the organization, whether the political government or a corporate management, is organized to manage and exercise control of the delegated rights.

    The crucial point is often overlooked: the delegated rights are to choices of action.

    In general, a government is organized to have a monopoly on the choices regarding the use of all force for the purpose of placing it under “objective” control. The individuals in the society and the government are fallible, and “perfect” objective control cannot be required to have a civilized government.

    Of course, the proper functions of government should be to only control the use of retaliatory force, for example, against invasion of an individual’s property by internal criminals or by external invaders. However, the government takes “objective” control of the use of all force, even if it its decisions are mixed and sometimes contrary to the principle of individual rights. Despite such actions in some cases, a government can still be characterized as a civilized government.

    A civilized government’s political right to exercise control of the use of force should be respected. The decisions regarding the use of force are not subject to personal veto via the use of force by any one individual in the society or any immigrant. Disagreements regarding how the government should exercise its power should be addressed by political processes. Any other approach would be advocacy of civil disobedience whenever there is a particular disagreement regarding a government’s decisions.

    More particularly, the delegated right to self-defense includes the right to decide who is to be deemed minimally friendly and allowable (not necessarily allowed by him) to enter his property and who is to be deemed an enemy and to be prevented from entering his property, by force, if necessary.

    Who or what is deemed a threat to anyone’s life or private property in a country—as a delegated right of self-defense—is a political question for objective government control.

    The government may properly establish, through political process and objective laws, the minimum standards for who or what is to be deemed friendly (or at least not be a threat) to the members of the civilized society and permitted entry into the country as a matter of the delegated right to individual self-defense.

    What the standards for entry should be is a complex question of political science and law on which reasonable men may differ.

    A person should be presumed innocent until proven guilty; however, this is not an out-of-context absolute, either. On the individual level, this would be an objectively dangerous policy for granting permission to enter one’s home. Similarly, on the national level, a person seeking to enter a country has no right to enter on this presumption alone.

    The government is charged with national defense, and it should not view an unidentified person, boat, or jet seeking entry or approaching its border as “innocent until proven guilty.” Instead, it has the right to demand identification and other information in its right to self-defense of the national territory and the integrity of its borders, or, if not satisfied, it has the right to turn away, by force, if necessary.

    An individual should be politically free to personally set a higher standard for others to enter his private property, regardless of whether others in the society agree that his higher standard is objectively rational.

    No individual, however, has a so-called political right to “delegate” to the government only his personal, subjective choice or lower standard regarding the delegated right. For example, there is no political right to refuse to the government the use force in defense of one’s property from whom the government determines to be an enemy foreign invader. To do so would give every last man in the country veto power over all government choices of action regarding national self-defense.

    Just as a person intruding into a private home without the owner’s permission violates an individual right, so a person evading a border control to gain entry to a country without the government’s permission is properly deemed to be an invader or illegal alien in violation of the delegated individual right. A person must comply with the government’s minimum terms for seeking entry into the country, or he is the one “initiating” force, and may be treated as such, without apology.

    Respectfully,
    Old Toad

    • Mr. Toad, I agree. Both in my written comments above and in my talk on the podcast I compare the country to a house, though I admit it’s a weak analogy. A better analogy is one of a homeowner’s association or “gated community”. Each of these quasi-governmental organizations (though they are structured as corporations) has bylaws, elections, and so-forth, and an individual homeowner can’t violate the bylaws without incurring a penalty. If the bylaws state that (to give one relatively absurd example), that no Hondurans are allowed on the property, then it doesn’t matter whether John Smith, owner in good standing of one of the properties in the subdivision, wants to bring a Honduran onto the property. Now this is an absurd restriction, but communities have lots of other restrictions similarly weird, and no one bats an eye at it. A country is more like a “gated community” and for the same reason.

      • Roger MacInness

        Except that in most HOA,s the homeowner does not get a vote until at least 80 to 90 percent of their homes are sold. The association can make any rule it want to make no matter how it violates rights of the homeowners.

    • “One of Binswanger’s premises is that a person has the right to travel, including internationally; however, this is not an out-of-context absolute. The “right to travel” or “freedom of movement” is the right to leave, not to enter.”

      Where does this “right to leave” come from?

      If one has the “right to leave” but not the “right to enter,” then in fact one doesn’t even have the “right to leave.” There’s no place that one would have the right to leave to.

      “For example, on the individual level, the right to travel means a person should not be imprisoned, but does not mean there is any right to enter another person’s private property without the owner’s permission.”

      The issue of immigration is not about some presumed right to enter private property without the owner’s permission. Neither the government nor “the people” own the country. The country as a whole is not owned by the government or “the people” collectively.

      As to delegating one’s right of self-defense to the government, that means that the government is authorized to act as one’s agent of self-defense, by virtue of one’s right to self-defense. But that does not include the right to violate the rights of others, as there’s no such right as the right to violate the rights of others that one can delegate to the government.

      • Old Toad

        Hello John Sheppard,

        It’s a pleasure to meet you here.

        You argued, “If one has the ‘right to leave’ but not the “right to enter,” then in fact one doesn’t even have the ‘right to leave.’ There’s no place that one would have the right to leave to.”

        Generally, this generally does not appear to be the case. Multitudes of people own individual pieces of private property (homes, farms, buildings, etc.) from which other multitudes are barred from entry without the owner’s specific permission to enter. Nevertheless, multitudes of people have also still managed to travel extensively to particular places on the earth that welcome them based on friendship or trade.

        Even if in some cases a person cannot arrange by permission to have any other place to leave to, this still does not give him any “right” to enter another person’s property or home. His need or desire to go somewhere else gives him no right to enter anyone else’s property.

        On the individual level, one can defend his property from any person who would claim the so-called “right to travel” onto his property or into his home without violating anyone’s rights.

        Similarly, a country does not violate anyone’s “right to travel” by excluding him from the country.

        Respectfully,
        Old Toad

        • Hello, Old Toad.

          Yes, even though you claim that there is a “right to leave” but not a “right to enter,” and seemingly contrary to my statement that if there is no “right to enter” then there is no “right to leave,” it is true that “multitudes of people have also still managed to travel extensively to particular places on the earth that welcome them based on friendship or trade.”

          But by right, or by permission? Those are not equivalent concepts.

          Many here have argued that “we” collectively own this country and that “we” can therefore set any conditions on whether or not to allow anyone to immigrate, because there is no such thing as a right to immigrate to this country.

          Surely that applies to all nation-states on principle.

          And surely those same people who argue that no one has a right to immigrate to this country would also argue that no one has the right to emigrate from here to any other country, even though one may perhaps obtain permission from that other country if one can prove that one is not a criminal or a terrorists or infected with a deadly, contagious disease, etc. A permission is not the same as a right.

          So, in a world of collectivist nation-states, unless there’s somewhere else to go besides another sovereign nation-state, then one can hardly claim a right to leave any country, because in claiming a right to leave, one is claiming a right to enter some other nation-state.

          If there’s no right to immigrate, there’s equally no right to emigrate. If there’s no “right to enter” then there is no “right to leave.”

          • Wendy

            If you have a right to bear arms and no one sells you a gun, do you still have a right to bear arms?

          • Old Toad

            Hello John Shepard,

            Thank you for your response.

            With all this leaving and entering, I’m not sure if we’re coming or going. :=)

            Would you clarify your position on the individual right to travel vs. the individual right to self-defense? I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, but you seem to agree that the right to travel does not trump the right to defend one’s private property (e.g., home) against uninvited intrusion?

            It’s like the bartender says as closing time, “You don’t have to go home, but can’t stay here.”

            As the right to use force in self-defense is delegated to the government, before we talk about governments and countries, we should first be clear on the nature of the individual rights involved.

            Respectfully,
            Old Toad

          • “Would you clarify your position on the individual right to travel vs. the individual right to self-defense? . . . you seem to agree that the right to travel does not trump the right to defend one’s private property (e.g., home) against uninvited intrusion?”

            I’m not really certain what you’re asking, Old Toad. Individual’s (and only individuals) have rights, which can only be violated by the initiation of the use of force. Therefore individuals have a right to use force in defense of their rights, which is the meaning and justification of the right of self-defense. That limit on the use of force, what determines the proper use of force, the principle of individual rights, also limits what a proper, rights-respecting government (institutionalized force) may do.

            As to the “right to travel,” an individual has the right to take any action he chooses as long as in doing so he does not violate the rights of others (does not initiate the use of force against them). Under the umbrella of one’s rights, one has the “right to travel” or anything else one chooses to do as long as one does not violate the rights of others..

            If you’re not clear on the meaning of the nature of individual rights, I recommend Miss Rand’s essay “Man’s Rights.”

            One line in her essay, I think, goes to the heart of the principle of individual rights (although it would be best to read it in context):

            “The source of man’s rights is not divine law or congressional law, but the law of identity. A is A—and Man is Man. Rights are conditions of existence required by man’s nature for his proper survival. If man is to live on earth, it is right for him to use his mind, it is right to act on his own free judgment, it is right to work for his values and to keep the product of his work. If life on earth is his purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being: nature forbids him the irrational.” (Atlas Shrugged)

            http://campus.aynrand.org/more/selected-full-essays/#mans-rights

          • Old Toad

            Hello, John Sheppard.

            You wrote, “one has the ‘right to travel’ or anything else one chooses to do as long as one does not violate the rights of others.”

            Right, so the “right to travel” does not trump the right to self-defense. So we agree, the “right to travel” is not a right to enter any particular land. The place must be either not claimed by anybody (e.g., the middle of the ocean) or only by the permission of the prior claimant.

            Then you argued, “A permission is not the same as a right.” Agreed, but what is your point? We were talking about the “right to travel” as NOT being any “right” to enter another’s private property. Of course, one can do so by the owner’s permission.

            I never said on the individual level that “the right to leave” granted the right to go anywhere in particular. On the contrary, I wrote above: “Even if in some cases a person cannot arrange by permission to have any other place to leave to, this still does not give him any “right” to enter another person’s property or home. His need or desire to go somewhere else gives him no right to enter anyone else’s property.”

            But then you argued, “So, in a world of collectivist nation-states, unless there’s somewhere else to go besides another sovereign nation-state, then one can hardly claim a right to leave any country, because in claiming a right to leave, one is claiming a right to enter some other nation-state.”

            Are you saying that “in a world of collectivist nation-states,” the right to travel must be the right to enter another collectivist nation state, but that would not be true in a world including at least one capitalist nation?

            Respectfully,
            Old Toad

          • —’Right, so the “right to travel” does not trump the right to self-defense. So we agree, the “right to travel” is not a right to enter any particular land. The place must be either not claimed by anybody (e.g., the middle of the ocean) or only by the permission of the prior claimant.’

            That’s correct. The “right to travel” doesn’t trump the rights of others. But by others I mean individuals, not collectives. There are no collective rights, only individual have rights. There is no such thing as a right to violate the rights of others, and if one claims an exception, then one is repudiating the principle of individual rights as such, as a principle, replacing it with another principle, the idea of “collectivized rights.” (Stopping others from violating or threatening to violate the rights of others is not an exception, but a recognition of the principle of individual rights.)

            —’I never said on the individual level that “the right to leave” granted the right to go anywhere in particular. On the contrary, I wrote above: “Even if in some cases a person cannot arrange by permission to have any other place to leave to, this still does not give him any “right” to enter another person’s property or home. His need or desire to go somewhere else gives him no right to enter anyone else’s property.”’

            Again, I think we agree, one’s rights do not mean that one has the right to violate the rights of others.

            The predominate argument with respect to the principle of rights in relation to immigration has been that no one has the right to immigrate. No right. And in a world of collectivist nation-states, which is the expressed view of what nation-states are, even America, a form of collectivism, then there is simply no place beyond one’s borders that one has any right to emigrate to, as you acknowledge. Everything else is “owned” by some collective, some collectivist nation-state.

            In his essay, “Open Immigration,” Harry Binswanger said:

            ‘The implicit premise of barring foreigners is: “This is our country, we let in only those we want here.” But who is this collective “we”? The government does not own the country. It has jurisdiction over the territory, but jurisdiction is not ownership. Nor does the majority own the country. America is a country of private property. Housing is private property. So is a job. Only the owner of land, or of a business employing people, may set the terms regarding the use or sale of his property.’

            —’But then you argued, “So, in a world of collectivist nation-states, unless there’s somewhere else to go besides another sovereign nation-state, then one can hardly claim a right to leave any country, because in claiming a right to leave, one is claiming a right to enter some other nation-state.”

            —’Are you saying that “in a world of collectivist nation-states,” the right to travel must be the right to enter another collectivist nation state, but that would not be true in a world including at least one capitalist nation?’

            As I understand you, yes. If all there are in the world are a bunch of collectivist nation-states, such as America is supposedly, then the claim that one has the right to emigrate (the “right to travel” from one country into another collectivist nation-state) is the claim that one has a right to immigrate into, from their perspective, another collectivist nation-state. But there are no rights, no individual rights (there are no other kinds of rights) in or with respect to collectivist nation-states.

            With respect to a capitalist country, then yes, the rights of the individual include the right to immigrate to such a country, and as long as one holds in mind that there’s no such thing as the right to violate the rights of others, then there’s no presumption that people have the right to immigrate if they are a threat to the rights of others. A capitalist country has every right to defend itself, defend the rights of individuals, from any threats foreign or domestic.

            Individuals have rights, and that implies that they may take any action they choose, even to travel to another country to visit or to immigrate/emigrate as long as they respect the rights of others. That’s the only qualification on the principle of rights, which is not really a qualification but a clarification, that one respect the rights of other individuals. So unless in the process of immigrating/emigrating acts to violate the rights of others, they are within their rights to immigrate/emigrate, much of there right having to do with contracting with others, such as airlines to travel, hotels and motels for temporary lodging, for example, etc.

            But with respect to collectivist nation-states, there are no individual rights on principle, and no one has the right to immigrate or to emigrate, to emigrate even if one is welcome in some other country. (Think of Soviet Russia and East Berlin.) To even hold that one’s has some kind of right, respected by such a government, to cross a border in either direction, is a denial of fact (and history). (Morally, every individual, even in a collectivist nation-state, has rights, which the government should recognize, respect and protect. But a collectivist government, a collectivist nation-state, does not, and in such a context, one cannot really claim any such political rights. They’re simply not recognized, but are subordinated to “national interests.”)

        • “If you have a right to bear arms and no one sells you a gun, do you still have a right to bear arms?”

          Well, to make you question relevant, you would have to ask me: If you do not have a right to bear arms, do you still have a right to bear arms?

          If no one has he right to immigrate, does anyone have the right to emigrate to another country, keeping in mind that to emigrate to another country is, from their perspective, to immigrate to their country?

          • Wendy

            Your argument is based on a malevolent universe premise. Just because every country has restrictions doesn’t mean that everyone doesn’t have an opportunity to go to another country. They do. They just must meet conditions.

          • “Your argument is based on a malevolent universe premise. Just because every country has restrictions doesn’t mean that everyone doesn’t have an opportunity to go to another country. They do. They just must meet conditions.”

            I did not say “opportunity.” I said “right.”

          • Wendy

            Everyone has a right to bear arms, and that translates into opportunities to buy guns, but that does not mean that any gun maker has a duty to sell to everyone.

            There is a right to emigrate, and that translates into opportunities to go to another country, but that doesn’t mean that any country has to accept everyone.

            Granted, analogies have limits, but I am only calling out the malevolent universe premise here.

          • “There is a right to emigrate, and that translates into opportunities to go to another country, but that doesn’t mean that any country has to accept everyone.”

            Where does this “right to emigrate” (but not to immigrate) come from? What’s the justification?

            “Granted, analogies have limits, but I am only calling out the malevolent universe premise here.”

            Only?

            It’s one thing to be “calling out” my supposed malevolent universe premise, but it’s another to justify your claim. So how about an argument instead of a mere accusation?

  42. Old Toad

    Sorry, John Shepard, I misspelled your last name and see no way to edit. I will get it right in the future.

    Respectfully,
    Old Toad

  43. Immigration and the Responsibility of Government

    “The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence.” Ayn Rand: The Virtue of Selfishness

    The Islamic State of Iran declared war on the United States and its citizens in 1979, when Iranians held 66 Americans hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Iran for 444 days. It is and has been the legal and moral responsibility of the American Government, not only to bar entry of Iranians, Islamists, and Jihadists into the U.S., regardless of who owns the particular U.S. border property to be entered, but more fundamentally, to eliminate our Islamic enemies altogether.

    There is no rights infringement of individuals whose ideology and purpose to kill Americans and rule America by command of the Koran is actualized in explicit threats to murder Americans and rule America. Such threats are not free speech, but actions, horrifically concretized repeatedly since 1979, which are infringements on, and violations of, the unalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness of every American individual.

    Our government cannot protect individual rights while violating them.

    Cary Gossett

  44. Here’s another well-written article that recaps some of Ann Coulter’s case re: crime:

    http://www.breitbart.com/immigration/2015/08/23/unchecked-immigration-a-greater-threat-than-isis/

  45. I was able to read through most of the comments as of yesterday morning & want to thank everyone for a stimulating discussion.

    In particular, I’d like to thank Ed Powell for helping me take a harder look at my position as a former Open Borders advocate. I think much of the frustration that seeps through these debates is that we are stuck with a reality we don’t like. We want an Objectivist society, but we don’t see any chance of one existing in the near future. So the question is: How do we get closer to our goal?

    I believe that Ed’s answers present a better summary of the current state of affairs than the Open Borders advocates. We know that immigration has built this country & added to it’s energy & vibrancy. However, since the 1965 Immigration Act, our immigration policy has leaned toward an importation of people from the Third World & many of these cultures are anti-Western. The push to assimilate does not seem to be there compared to the turn-of-the-century immigration but I don’t have the hard facts at the moment to convincingly push forth this assertion.

    Here’s what I do know: Islamic immigration has been a destabilizing force in Europe. I’m not sure if we’d even be having this discussion were it not for the Islamic question & what to do about it. Yes, I know there’s been waves of Latin immigration & I’m sure they’ve been destabilizing in some areas of the Southwest, but I don’t think this represents an ideological threat.

    Now, it does feel yucky to make these classifications based on groups. But, what do you do with an ideology that is totalitarian & bent on the destruction of Western values? Do you let them in the USA with the hopes that they assimilate to our society even though this hasn’t been demonstrated in Europe? I think not.

  46. There is plenty to consider after listening and thank you Amy, for sparking this deeper analysis. One important thing I am trying to discern is the definition of a “nation state” (sometimes I wonder if my mind too quickly defaults to the big picture.. habit?). It seems action taken on immigration cannot be completely objective given our current state of affairs. How do we achieve the best result for America (safety, economy, cultural evolution) now and for the future? I am leaning toward some kind of screening to keep evil out and bring in “rights respecting” individuals. Specifically I am uncertain at this time how this will be achieved but I look forward to more on this topic. I wonder if “rights respecting” should be changed to “individual rights respecting”? I have observed many western Canadians have American ancestry (like me) and so the culture of free thought has been passed down to them in families. In my opinion, the latest generations have been rendered mostly non-thinking by fervent indoctrination techniques and bad philosophy.

  47. Sajid Anjum

    After reading Amy’s response and many of the comments, I am inclined to agree with her. You can’t possibly call yourself a free society if you screen your immigrants based on what they believe and what they think, rather than screening based on what they have accomplished.

    Amy also says that you can’t have open borders without getting rid of the welfare state. I think you’re always going to have welfare in some form–it is what people demand and I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing. Of course, if such is the case, you will have to regulate immigration according to whether the American welfare state is sustainable.

    In my opinion, freedom is not free, but requires money, law enforcement and a well-developed legal system to enforce and maintain. I am an open border advocate as long as the system is flexible enough to adapt to the needs and demands of millions of immigrants.

    Also, many above have claimed that immigration from Latin America (and Asia) should be restricted because the overwhelming majority of citizens from these countries tend to vote Democrat. I disagree with this sentiment as, once again, you can’t screen for ideology. Freedom of speech exists and if you can’t convince people to vote republican then perhaps you should check your premises, or more relevantly, the premises of the republican party that is dominated by a native Christian conservative majority.

    Lastly, a couple of people have also brough up the definition of a “nation state” and that is something I have been personally struggling with for a few years. Surely, in today’s world, a nation state has meaning to its citizens as an entity that is beyond a mere collection of individuals. India, China, Russia and USA are all just different in several irreconciliable ways such as language, religion and political outlook. Can we move past those differences in a mostly free society? If we can’t, or if it is not in the world’s best interests to dissolve nations in favor of a unified world, then what is a nation state, what are its proper borders, and how does that impact immigration?

    Sajid Anjum

  48. Ed Mazlish

    Amy: I just listened to your podcast – good show, and I wish I could have participated live. A couple of thoughts.

    Ideological screening does not mean we try to get inside the head of the person seeking entry. It means we take steps to see if the person understands individual rights and agrees (via a sworn statement subject to perjury) to be bound by the principles of individual rights. Given that anyone who enters the country implicitly agrees to be bound by our laws, I don’t see the problem with asking such basic questions.

    Such questioning need not and should not be done at the border – it should be done at the visa stage. While I see how difficult it would be for the Executive Branch to try to figure out the deepest thoughts of a person seeking a visa, I don’t think it is so difficult to have such questions asked and answered under penalty of perjury in foreign consulates/embassies.

    Nor does such questioning need to be overly restrictive – it can even be theoretically written with a bias toward allowing entry. While I prefer more restrictive questions, I think reasonable people can differ over just how restrictive versus inviting the questions should be. But, for example, I think it would be perfectly reasonable to ask prospective entrants if a person in America has a right to draw a picture of Mohammed – and regardless of whether the person has engaged in any acts of violence previously, if he cannot certify under penalty of perjury that he understands that in America people have the right then we certainly have the right to bar him from entering the country. We need not wait for him to attempt to murder such a cartoonist before taking action (and if he lies on the application, it will be easier to take action against him if he is later caught either at the planning stage or in some peripheral role associated with such criminal activity).

    Indeed, your example of the country of cannibals was aimed at an ideological screening. Obviously if the person were a known cannibal, even the open borders advocates would (generally) agree that the person could be barred. But your example implicitly assumes there is no such evidence – but you rightly note (or at least strongly imply) that we have enough cultural statistical evidence to at least consider banning – or screening the person further. We need not avert our eyes to what any rational person knows is a threat.

    And of course, a “threat” by its nature is something that has not metastasized into actual harm, YET. The government is allowed to take reasonable measures to protect the public from threats of harm even before they metastasize into actual harm. It is legitimate for the government to ban drunk driving – and even set up random checkpoints – even before the drunk driver has struck another person or property. It is legitimate for the government to ban the random discharge of firearms even if the bullets fall harmlessly to the ground without injuring anyone. And the government may take reasonable measures to protect us from threats from abroad, including threats from foreigners seeking to enter without affirming any commitment to or understanding of individual rights.

    Finally, I note that Ayn Rand defined a right as a moral principle sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. Within the border/jurisdiction of a country is a different social context than without the border/jurisdiction. The above arguments which seek to ignore this fact of reality are mistaken about how Ayn Rand defined rights and/or how the concept applies in the context of immigration.

    • Sajid Anjum

      ” But, for example, I think it would be perfectly reasonable to ask prospective entrants if a person in America has a right to draw a picture of Mohammed – and regardless of whether the person has engaged in any acts of violence previously, if he cannot certify under penalty of perjury that he understands that in America people have the right then we certainly have the right to bar him from entering the country”

      If a random person tries to get a visa to an EU state or America while carrying a Middle-Eastern or South Asian passport, he will realize that the visa process is actually quite intense and very difficult. Candidates have to answer several questions about their purpose of visit, means of financial support ,and references inside the destination country, and if they cannot verify all three then the visa is denied. In fact, often, the visa is denied for no ostensible reason.

      You can’t ask people whether Americans have a right to draw Muhammad because that would be ideological screening. However, you can inform them that in America it is perfectly legal to publish writings that are offensive to Muslims, that they might come across those writings, and they should be able to deal with those writings in a non-violent fashion. For 99% of applicants this would be sort of absurd, and for the fewer than 1% who are in the terrorism market, it wouldn’t be a deterrent. This sort of visa questioning would be far more useful as an educational tool about American aspects of free speech and freedom of religion than as a screening tool.

      Really, the immigration issue isn’t about too many Muslims or too many Latinos. It is about the economy and jobs. If tomorrow, a wave of freedom loving, Nigerian, protestant Christians showed up at the border, would the USA accept all of them with open arms? More likely, Americans would find some other reason to restrict that particular hypothetical immigration wave.

      Historically, America has successfully assimilated Anglicans, Purtians, Calvinists, Lutherans, Catholics, Orthodoxers, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Mormons, Shintos and probably several more. The whole idea behind the United States is to create a system that assimilates people no matter what their ideology is. Then, the following questions remain:

      1. During the process of assimilation, there will sure be some “growing pains.” Is America ready to handle the cost, both human and economical, of these “assimiliation conflicts”?

      2. Many people are concerned that large numbers of immigrants take more out of American society that they put in. Is it possible to make the American system flexible enough that no matter who you are, as a group, you will never be able to get out more than you put back in?

      Sajid Anjum

      • I think Ed M. is being a little genteel in his questioning. We are so very far from caring whether a potential immigrant agrees with drawing a Mohammed cartoon. We’re at the stage right now where we need to ask things like “Do you realize that in the United States you can’t rape your own children, or other children in your community?” Let’s get rid of all the child rapists first, then we can worry about immigrants’ nuanced views of the 1st amendment.

  49. Ed Mazlish

    One other comment Amy – I notice that in one of the above comments Galt’s Gulch was mentioned, and I think it was also mentioned on the podcast. Of course, Galt’s Gulch was private property, and in that sense not a country/nation with a government protecting it from external threats. The real applicability of Galt’s Gulch is if you pose the following hypothetical: if the residents of the Gulch had decided to institute a government, would the creation of that government make the shield immoral? Would that government have been obligated to remove the shield as its first official act, and institute open borders at that time because governments must presume everyone – including foreigners – innocent?

    I think not. But under the theory and principles advocated by the open borders advocates, the moment the residents of the Gulch would have created a government would have been the moment that the shield would have become an immoral border restriction.

    I don’t think that position is correct nor do I believe it would be a correct application of Objectivism as detailed in Atlas Shrugged.

    • Well, let’s see. Galt’s Gulch becomes a country into itself with its own government and with its own borders. You say that the country of Galt’s Gulch has no obligation to have “open border.”

      I’m curious, do the citizens of the hypothetical country of Galt’s Gulch have the right to cross the borders of and exit Galt’s Gulch?

      Is the surrounding country obligated to institute open borders with respect to the country of Galt’s Gulch?

    • Wendy

      Bingo, Ed. There is an artificial criterion being smuggled in: Private players may determine who to keep out based on a threat assessment, and if it is rational, that is laudable, but governments are not allowed to make the very same decision that a private owner would because governments have force. But the private property owner would also use force to carry out his will. John Galt did. Condo associations call the police, so it amounts to the same thing. So the open borders position on this question is arbitrary, and I also think there is a failure to abstract. Just because a people number in the millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, or billions doesn’t mean that there cannot be rational organization among them.

      • “Just because a people number in the millions, tens of millions, hundreds of millions, or billions doesn’t mean that there cannot be rational organization among them.”

        It does not mean that whatever “organization” they choose is a “rational organization” either. The rational is not an issue of numbers, is not determined by popular vote or social consensus.

        • Wendy

          True, governments should have rational policies. Admitting millions of third worlders and other problematic people is not rational.

          • Old Toad

            Hello, Wendy,

            Agreed. It seems to me, however, that the “absolute open borders” advocates are arguing for personal veto power over the government’s political decisions regarding the use of the delegated right to self-defense that they don’t agree with.

            Respectfully,
            Old Toad

          • “It seems to me, however, that the “absolute open borders” advocates are arguing for personal veto power over the government’s political decisions regarding the use of the delegated right to self-defense that they don’t agree with.”

            It would perhaps be helpful were those who are arguing against “open immigration” to not mischaracterize it as “open borders” or “no borders” or even “absolute open borders.”

            There is nothing in the idea that precludes defending the country from anyone who is a threat. The only question is how to best go about doing so within the context of the principle of individual rights.

            “Open immigration” is not a “welcome to all those who are hostile to the rights of others” view.

          • Old Toad

            Hello, John Shepard,

            There is no mischaracterization of Binswanger’s position.

            In Harry Binswanger’s article “Open Immigration,” http://www.hblist.com/immigr.htm, (2014) he argues for “a policy of absolutely open immigration, without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports.”

            Respectfully,
            Old Toad

          • “There is no mischaracterization of Binswanger’s position.”

            “Things are different in wartime, or when an epidemic breaks out in a certain region, of course, but what about peacetime? What about now, when millions of Mexicans, South Americans, Chinese, Canadians, etc. are seeking entry into the U.S.? What about the overwhelming majority, who are not criminals, not terrorists, and not carriers of some plague? By what moral principle can they be inspected, harrassed, or excluded? Majority vote? No single individual has the right to stop another and “inspect” him to see if he is “acceptable,” so no majority—which is simply a number of individuals—has that right either.” — Harry Binswanger, “Open Immigration”

            What in the world do you suppose he might have meant by: “Things are different in wartime, or when an epidemic breaks out in a certain region, of course…”

            Yes, there is a mischaracterization, sometimes by mistake, perhaps, but too often not.

          • Old Toad

            John Shepard,

            Yes, Binswanger argued for “absolute open borders” in peacetime.

            That is what he advocated and that have been discussing (and disagreeing with). We have not been discussing wartime issues.

            There is no mischaracterization of Binswanger’s position, at least not by me. :=)

            Respectfully,
            Old Toad

          • “Yes, Binswanger argued for “absolute open borders” in peacetime.

            “That is what he advocated and that have been discussing (and disagreeing with). We have not been discussing wartime issues.

            “There is no mischaracterization of Binswanger’s position, at least not by me.”

            Define “absolute open borders.”

            How does “absolute open borders”—with no specified context in your previous statement, about which I responded—now you include “peacetime,” but even Binswanger goes beyond “peacetime”)—contrast with what Binswanger actually calls for (except when things are different): “absolutely open immigration”?

            And show me where Binswanger argued for “absolute open borders.”

          • Old Toad

            John Shepard,

            Ah, yes, I see that I made a mistake in my last post, inadvertantly substituting “absolutely open borders” for “absolutely open immigration.” My bad.

            Nevertheless, the point we are arguing is the “ABSOLUTELY OPEN immigration WITHOUT BORDER PATROLS, BORDER POLICE, BORDER CHECKS, OR PASSPORTS.”

            How is this conceptually different from “absolutely open borders”?

            Respectfully,
            Old Toad

          • Old Toad: ‘Ah, yes, I see that I made a mistake in my last post, inadvertantly substituting “absolutely open borders” for “absolutely open immigration.” My bad.

            ‘Nevertheless, the point we are arguing is the “ABSOLUTELY OPEN immigration WITHOUT BORDER PATROLS, BORDER POLICE, BORDER CHECKS, OR PASSPORTS.”’

            Yes, the point we are arguing is the “ABSOLUTELY OPEN immigration WITHOUT BORDER PATROLS, BORDER POLICE, BORDER CHECKS, OR PASSPORTS” — as long as we are taking into account the fact that “Things are different in wartime, or when an epidemic breaks out in a certain region, of course,” and “in principle, there’s no objection to barring criminals from entering the country.”

            Indeed that is what “Open Immigration” refers to, open immigration to rights-respecting individuals.

            ‘How is this conceptually different from “absolutely open borders”?’

            Well, let’s see. First you say:

            “It seems to me, however, that the “absolute open borders” advocates are arguing for personal veto power over the government’s political decisions regarding the use of the delegated right to self-defense that they don’t agree with.”

            I said in response:

            ‘It would perhaps be helpful were those who are arguing against “open immigration” to not mischaracterize it as “open borders” or “no borders” or even “absolute open borders.”’

            You respond:

            “There is no mischaracterization of Binswanger’s position.”

            I then I quote one caveat in Dr. Binswanger’s “Open Immigration,” the paragraph that begins: “Things are different in wartime, or when an epidemic breaks out in a certain region, of course,” leaving out his statement of principle re criminals (above).

            You then declare: “Yes, Binswanger argued for “absolute open borders” in peacetime.”

            I then ask you to define “absolute open borders” in contrast with the phrase that Binswanger actually used: “absolutely open immigration.”

            And now you ask me:

            ‘How is this conceptually different from “absolutely open borders”?’

            Well, gee, I do not know what you mean by “absolutely open borders” or what you meant by “absolute open borders,” although I could hazard a guess. But I’m not psychic, so don’t you think that it would be easier for you to define “absolute open borders” or “absolutely open borders,” both of which are your phrases, instead of asking me to tell you what you meant by either phrase?

          • Old Toad

            Hello, John Shepard,

            In Harry Binswanger’s article “Open Immigration,” http://www.hblist.com/immigr.htm, (2014) he argues for “a policy of absolutely open immigration, without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports.” In addition, Binswanger’s position as stated in his article regarded PEACETIME, so that is not any change to the topic of our discussion.

            I did use the term “absolutely open borders” and you said you didn’t understand what I meant by that when Binswanger said “absolutely open immigration ….” Fine, I re-quoted Binswanger exactly and asked you what conceptual difference you understand between “absolutely open borders” and Binswanger’s position as quoted above that seems to be confusing you? I don’t see any difference.

            I am asking YOU what are YOU are thinking might be the conceptual difference in these terms, since this seems to have greatly confused YOU. I trust YOU don’t have to be a psychic to read YOUR own mind! :=)

            If there is no difference in YOUR mind, either, let’s get back to the substantive issues.

            Respectfully,
            Old Toad

          • “Fine, I re-quoted Binswanger exactly and asked you what conceptual difference you understand between “absolutely open borders” and Binswanger’s position as quoted above that seems to be confusing you? I don’t see any difference.”

            We’re going round and round. I do not use the phrase “absolutely open borders” or “absolute open borders” or “open borders” or even “no borders,” etc. with respect to “open immigration.” Others, including you, use them, I believe, to imply that by “open immigration” Binswanger and other advocates of “open immigration” mean something else other than “open immigration.”

            You say that you do not see any difference between such phrases and you ask me what the distinction is, but you at least grasp that they are indeed different phrases. If you and others (and I realize you cannot speak for others) do not see any difference between such phrases and “open immigration,” then you should use the phrase that Binswanger himself uses (and other advocates of “open immigration” use) just to be precise. If one is going to criticize what someone advocates, then I think such precision is called for. I believe that everyone using such phrases knows or should know that by using such phrases they are either attempting to confuse the issue or distort and confuse it, to imply something besides “open immigration.” Again, if one is going to criticize “open immigration” criticize “open immigration.” It may not matter to you which phrase to use, but, by your own admission, you see no difference between those phrases and “open immigration.” Therefore you at least should use the phrase “open immigration” to refer to “open immigration.” (I’ll use Old Toad to refer to you and not something else, for the same reason.)

            As to the distinction between the phrase “open immigration” and “open borders” or “absolutely open borders” or “absolute open borders” or even “no borders,” it seems rather apparent to me, but again, those are not phrases that I use in reference to “open immigration.”

            In the former case, “open immigration,” one is not challenging the idea of borders at all, nor of the necessity for the government to control the borders, not as an owner, but with respect to jurisdiction and in defense of the country from foreign threats.

            “Open immigration” refers to a policy, the proper, rights-respecting policy, of a free, rights-respecting country with respect to individuals and their rights to either immigrate or emigrate, rights that are implicit in the principle of individual rights. Yes, individuals do have the right to immigrate or emigrate, a right that any collectivist nation-state will not recognize, respect or protect. (All of which has to be understood to be qualified or clarified by the fact that rights do not give one the right to violate the rights of others. If a country is faced with an objective threat with respect to immigration (or even emigration), then it is proper to neutralize that threat.)

            “Open immigration” is a view that holds that rights-respecting individuals have a right to immigrate or emigrate unmolested by anyone when they travel, but it is not a claim of any out of context right. But again, if there is an objective threat with respect to prospective immigrants (or emigrants—would it be proper for a government to set loose murders at the border and send them across?), then it is proper for the government to neutralize that threat, but with an aim to do that as effectively and efficiently as possible, and not as an opportunity to wantonly attack and destroy innocent individuals.

            All of those “border” phrases—”no borders,” “absolutely open borders,” “open borders,” etc.—used in attempts to criticize “open immigration” imply that “open immigration” means that there is no country, no jurisdiction, no right even to defend the country from a military invasion, and you can observe those implications in the questions that people bring up and in the accusations they make against “open immigration.”

  50. “Doom for the GOP” by George Will (August 24, 2015)

    ‘”They,” the approximately 11.3 million illegal immigrants (down from 12.2 million in 2007), have these attributes: Eighty-eight percent have been here at least five years. Of the 62 percent who have been here at least 10 years, about 45 percent own their own homes. About half have children who were born here and hence are citizens. Dara Lind of Vox reports that at least 4.5 million children who are citizens have at least one parent who is an illegal immigrant.

    ‘Trump evidently plans to deport almost 10 percent of California’s workers and 13 percent of that state’s K-12 students. He is, however, at his most Republican when he honors family values: He proposes to deport intact families, including children who are citizens. “We have to keep the families together,” he says, “but they have to go.” Trump would deport everyone, then “have an expedited way of getting them [“the good ones”; “when somebody is terrific”] back.” Big Brother government will identify the “good” and “terrific” from among the wretched refuse of other teeming shores.’

    I say, “Let’s roll!” Let’s get the vermin out of the country.

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will082215.php3

    • George Will can’t do math. If Romney won hispanics by 70/30 instead of losing them by 70/30, he’d still have lost. If he had moved the needle on white votes by 4%, he’d have won. For every vote a Republican candidate will et by pandering to hispanic activists (and they will be very few–you can’t over pander the Democrats) they will lose many, many more white votes. Also, Coulter makes a good case that the number of illegal aliens in the US is 30 million. I think maybe 20 million is more likely, all things considered. But it’s certainly not 10 million. Again, read the book.

  51. Lisa James

    One argument for open immigration focuses on the American’s right to trade with foreigners. For example, Yaron Brook said recently that he should be allowed to take his truck to Mexico and bring back workers. Whose rights am I violating, he said?

    Maybe in that case, no one’s. But consider a Mexican women who brings her two children to California and gives birth to an anchor baby. The mother gets free medical care, all of her children (not just the one born here) will go to schools tax free, and her family as a whole will likely get some form of welfare. When her child grows up and applies for a job, he or she will get preferential treatment in hiring. When the child become 18 he can vote and will likely vote for candidates who will maintain the welfare state. And with more poor people from third world countries, that means higher taxes on the successful natives.

    Incidentally, a few years ago California passed a proposition banning affirmative action in government hiring and state universities. One of the main objectives of La Raza is to repeal that. Now that there are more Hispanics in California than Whites, they will soon succeed.

    And if you don’t like certain groups (such as Muslims) you will be unable to legally discriminate against them. If you don’t want to sell your house to a Somali family out of a courtesy to your former neighbors, tough luck. Likewise, tough luck, it you think a Muslim free gun range might be in your best interest.

    So open immigration, at least with today’s laws, produces a massive violation of rights. Let me emphasize, It is also forced association.

    But what if we didn’t have these laws? I think the end result would be the same, it would just take longer. Do you permanently disenfranchise immigrants and their children?

    Also, consider Europe. As others have noted, becoming majority Islamic means the majority of police and judges are Muslims. The law might give women the right not to be harassed for not wearing veils, but try to enforce that when the cops are Muslims.

    • Lisa James

      My theory of immigration is that a country should adopt an immigration policy that increases (or at least doesn’t decrease) the freedom it has. That is a rationally selfish immigration policy. Open immigration is at root altruistic.

      • The welfare state chickens are coming home to roost, and we don’t like it, although “we” certainly haven’t minded it in principle.

        “There wasn’t a man voting for it who didn’t think that under a setup of this kind he’d muscle in on the profits of the men abler than himself. There wasn’t a man rich and smart enough but that he didn’t think that somebody was richer and smarter, and this plan would give him a share of his better’s wealth and brain. But while he was thinking that he’d get unearned benefits from the men above, he forgot about the men below who’d get unearned benefits, too. He forgot about all his inferiors who’d rush to drain him just as he hoped to drain his superiors. The worker who liked the idea that his need entitled him to a limousine like his boss’s, forgot that every bum and beggar on earth would come howling that their need entitled them to an icebox like his own. That was our real motive when we voted – that was the truth of it – but we didn’t like to think it, so the less we liked it, the louder we yelled about our love for the common good.” – Atlas Shrugged

        As to a pro-freedom solution, I recommend reading George Reisman’s last chapter, 20, from his book Capitalism, especially the short section, Freedom of Immigration, in which he proposes, in part:

        “Without immediately abolishing the totality of the welfare state, which would be politically impossible, we could simply change its terms and make all noncitizens ineligible for its programs. This, of course, is essentially what a portion of California’s Proposition 187 seeks to do. However, that proposition also seeks to expel the immigrants and to deter further immigration through fear. Totally unlike Proposition 187, the mere exclusion of the immigrants from the welfare state would not impose any actual burden or disability on them. It would not be they who had to carry identity papers and prove why they should not be deported. There would be no question of that. On the contrary, it would only be the American citizens who sought the alleged benefits of the welfare state who would have to show papers and prove their citizenship.

        “While excluding the immigrants from the welfare state, we should simultaneously remove all government-imposed barriers to their being supplied privately with what they need. This would entail the removal of government licensing requirements in connection with meeting the medical, educational, transportation, and sanitation needs of the immigrants. As far as possible, this should be accompanied by privatization of such things as existing government-owned hospitals, schools, bus lines, and garbage-collection operations. An important result of privatization would be that the presence of the larger numbers of people resulting from immigration would be viewed as a source of more business, not more problems, as it is under the ineptitude of government ownership. In addition, in order to reduce the injustice that would exist in making immigrants pay taxes for the support of the welfare state for the native population, the immigrants should receive as nontaxable wages what would otherwise be their own and their employer’s social security and medicare contributions made in connection with their employment. The ironic effect of all these liberalizing measures would be to give the immigrants more freedom than today’s American citizens, and in that sense to make them truer Americans than today’s American citizens. If, at the same time, the immigrants could be reached with procapitalist ideas, this might well serve as the foundation for their being developed into a major group opposed to the welfare state for anyone.”

        http://www.capitalism.net/Capitalism/Laissez-Faire%20Capitalism.htm

        • Wendy

          Question. What is your plan to get all these liberalizing measures passed after the importation of tens of millions of racist socialists, who passed their ideas and values down to their children, who are allowed to vote? What is your plan? Is there any fact of reality that might cause you to wonder whether importing millions of socialists is a terminal condition?

        • Wendy

          I think you missed my point. How are you going to get these proposals enacted after you have created tens of millions of new socialist citizens who will simply vote down your proposals and move to enslave you further?

    • Lisa James

      As a final point, here is Ari Armstrong at The Objective Standard advocating open immigration for Muslims. If he has given any thought about the danger of turning Europe Islamic, it’s not evident to me.

      https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2014/07/rights-respecting-immigration-policy-muslims/

  52. Ed Mazlish

    John Shepard asks:

    “Well, let’s see. Galt’s Gulch becomes a country into itself with its own government and with its own borders. You say that the country of Galt’s Gulch has no obligation to have “open border.”

    I’m curious, do the citizens of the hypothetical country of Galt’s Gulch have the right to cross the borders of and exit Galt’s Gulch?

    Is the surrounding country obligated to institute open borders with respect to the country of Galt’s Gulch?”

    Ayn Rand defined rights as moral principles that define and sanction a man’s freedom of action within a given social context. The attempt to sever that last qualification of “within a given social context” and universalize rights as applying to all contexts contradicts Ayn Rand’s definition. In fact, the attempt to sever rights from a given social context and universalize them to all contexts amounts to transforming rights into what Ayn Rand called a “stolen concept.”

    The relevant contexts are within the jurisdiction and without the jurisdiction. Within the jurisdiction, a proper, rights respecting government is much more circumscribed in the force it is permitted to use and the instances when it may use it. Forcibly keeping people inside the jurisdiction generally violates their rights – but even that statement cannot be made without qualification. For example, the government may properly revoke the passport of someone merely accused of a crime, even though the government has not proven that the person is guilty of a crime.

    As always, context is king and cannot be properly ignored – which is precisely what the attempt to universalize them to all contexts does.

    • Okay, now how about actually answering my question.

      • I did answer your question. You are asking for an unqualified Yes or No, which ignores context. In general, the government may not properly use force to prevent you from leaving – but as I wrote above, there are contexts where that is proper, such as revoking the passport of someone accused of a crime.

        • I’m asking for even a qualified Yes or No. It’s your hypothetical, and you’re the one who claims that there’s no such thing as a right to immigrate. Given that Galt’s Gulch, the nation-state or country, is landlocked, and given that the citizens of Galt’s Gulch surely agree with you that they have no right to immigrate, which in this case means the “right” to cross their own “closed borders,” then do they have the right to cross the same borders if they are closed from the other side, from the surrounding country. I’m referring to rights, not permission.

  53. In reviewing the many comments here, I see that one theme that unites virtually all of the advocates of open borders is their claim is grounded in capitalism and the freedom to trade. Of course, Ayn Rand argued that capitalism was a derivative issue – so the attempt to make it not just a primary, not just *a* fundamental, but to make it *the* fundamental inquiry strikes me as inconsistent with Ayn Rand’s teachings.

    Capitalism and free trade are preceded hierarchically by ethical-cultural factors including egoism and rationality. The attempt to have capitalism without ensuring first that we have egoism and rationality is a replication of one of the Founders’ (relatively few and minor) mistakes.

    • The free trade argument for open immigration fails because people are not widgets. The importation of people entails the risk of rights violations (crime and terrorism). The importation of people entails a power for government to grant citizenship and voting rights to those people.

      Imported goods aren’t imposed on citizens who don’t want them. Imported people are.

  54. Lastly, I note that Amy and others seem to categorically reject the notion of any government screening of ideology. But in fact, in order to enact laws which protect (rather than violate) individual rights, the government necessarily chooses and prefers one ideology over another. This is true regardless of the law at issue.

    The demand that government enact laws devoid of ideology but which protect individual rights is self-contradictory.

  55. I listened to Amy’s recent podcast on the subject and think she asked some fair questions. The precise criteria for denying citizenship to foreign nationals or deporting illegal aliens can be debated endlessly. But the principle behind the immigration policy of a free and rational nation should be that of MERITOCRACY (selective based on cultural compatibility), not unlimited openness. Open immigration could potentially (even if not in actuality) lead to a nation being overrun by foreign populations who are hostile to its citizens’ values. Therefore, open immigration is in principle a form of egalitarian altruism. It treats all border crossers as equally qualified for citizenship, even if they are UN-delivered refugee dependents who aim to practice and spread Islamic totalitarianism.

  56. Romello Dellomand

    If immigrants are so virtous hard working, etc then why deny them the right to welfare and the vote?

    Presumably they would be less likely to go on welfare or vote statist.

    • Lisa James

      Here is Dr. Binswanger:
      ++++++
      Immigrants are a natural constituency for the Republican Party. Yes, the Republican Party–because foreigners come here to participate in the American dream. It takes independence and courage to leave the familiar hearth and home and venture to a new land. Republicans, not the “You didn’t build that” Democrats, have at least some appreciation for the American can-do spirit and the self-made man.
      ++++++

      Can Harry name one state or county that has become more free market oriented as a result of 3d world immigrants? Is he unaware that Hispanics have higher rates of high school dropout, welfare dependency and unemployment? The Hispanic teen pregnancy rate is higher than the black.

      • maria.montinieri

        The whole îmmigrants are better;more hard working, etc.than the natives line doesnt appear to be the case. And why would anyone think that people from third world countries are going to assimilate like Europeans in the past. Maybe, maybe not. You have got to look at the evidence.

        With Hispanics there is evidence that second and third generation are doing worse than the first generation. Assimilating into the welfare state seems to be more like it.

        I have also noticed that immigrants, even ones that do well, still have a chip on their shoulder. I read a story a while ago about two successful (husband and wife) scientists from Nigeria who are working at a state university in Texas. They said how supposedly racist the USA is. Why would we have let them in and given them jobs:

        Even Chinese seem angry at the USA. Consider the attacks on Jeb Bush for pointing out the abuse of birth tourism.

        My grandparents came from Southern Italy and they did not have that attitude. They were greatful for the opportunities they had.

  57. Another curiosity in this discussion is that open borders/open immigration advocates demand that opponents such as Old Toad define what “absolute open immigration means,” rather than themselves defining with specificity what their own terms mean.

    The open immigration advocates consistently define their position in terms of what it is not rather than what it is, in much the way that advocates of God define God as “not XXXX.” They say that open immigration doesn’t mean no screening, but won’t define what screening is acceptable (or how how it would be reasonably accomplished). They say that open immigration doesn’t mean no border checkpoints, but don’t explain how they would screen for infectious diseases or terrorists without checkpoints (nor do they explain how they would screen for those things without asking questions that violate the presumption of innocence). And then they make hysterical accusations when people like Old Toad draw perfectly reasonable and logical inferences that are implied by their positions (and even stated explicitly by HB).

    Of course, because the open borders/open immigration advocates’ position is based on principles divorced from actual facts on the ground, it doesn’t bother them a whit that they don’t concretize and define what they mean, and resist any attempts by others to try to define what they mean.

    • Second the motion! What is the proposal of the Open Immigration advocates in today’s world given that we live in a Welfare State?

      • “Second the motion! What is the proposal of the Open Immigration advocates in today’s world given that we live in a Welfare State?”

        I recommended this earlier to someone else I suggest that you read Chapter 20 of George Reisman’s book Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics, “Towards the Establishment of Laissez-Faire Capitalism,” especially the relatively brief section: “Freedom of Immigration” (although I recommend reading the entire chapter).

        http://www.capitalism.net/Capitalism/Laissez-Faire%20Capitalism.htm

        • ironbull45

          I hope I get a chance to read this. But is it an accident that he advocates 6 steps before the section Freedom of Immigration?

  58. My final comment is to note how almost no discussion among open borders advocates in this thread has addressed in any fundamental way my four main issues (from way, way up the page):

    1) Open borders is incompatible with the welfare state, so eliminating the welfare state must be a PRECONDITION to any increased immigration.
    2) Open borders is incompatible with democracy, so that the US must be returned to a rights-respecting representative republic as a PRECONDITION to any increased immigration.
    3) Mass immigration from the third world, which brings in a set of cultures so toxic and inimical to American freedoms, means that no matter what happens in 1 and 2 above, extreme screening must be done to enable ANY third world person to come here under any circumstances. (I suggest a market-determined amount for a bond or a market-priced insurance policy.)
    4) The United States is never at peace, so whatever you think immigration policy should be in “peacetime” forget about it, because there is never any peacetime.

    The open borders advocates have not addressed any of these issues, but keep talking about “the right to travel” and such abstractions as if they were independent of the facts of reality, or that the United States isn’t an actual real entity in a real world with real problems, but some floating abstraction where there are never any real consequences for any ivory tower political theorizing.

    My suggestion for the open borders types, if you find our arguments unpersuasive, is find some Israeli blog and argue for open borders for Israel on that blog. I assure you, you will get an education that no amount of money could pay for in the United States. (And don’t tell me “Israel is at war” to justify your unpricinpledness on the open border issue–America is just as much “at war” as Israel is, and probably more so.)

    Finally, READ OR LISTEN TO ANN COULTER’S BOOK, “Adios America”. No individual can claim that they know anything about the non-open-borders position without reading this book. It’s 9 hours, 21 minutes in audio so can be listened to is less than 5 hours at 2x speed. That’s three days’ commute for most of us. There’s no excuse for not reading this book, if you care about the immigration question. Ann thoroughly refutes such nonsense such as “immigrants don’t commit crimes” that you hear over and over again by the open borders Objectivist fifth column and the socialist media. After you read the book, THEN come back and argue. But without immersing yourself in a set of facts, no one has any business arguing for ANY position on the immigration question. One does not simply read Ayn Rand’s “Man’s Rights” and then claim to know the answer to every important political question, basing all arguments not on facts but on deductions from this and similar articles. That’s rationalism pure and simple and has no place in a blog devoted to OBJECTIVISM.

    • Lisa James

      I agree with Ed, Coulter’s book is fantastic. I’m not thrilled with the tone of it, but that’s a minor complaint. I’d like to see a mainstream Objectivist site such as The Objective Standard review the book, but I don’t think it will happen.

  59. I just read this blog post by Objectivist novelist Ed Cline, and now I’ve totally changed my mind and want as much immigration from the Islamic world as possible!

    http://ruleofreason.blogspot.com/

    (That was sarcasm.)

    • Lisa James

      I’d like to make a final point. As Coulter notes in her book, what we have achieved in Western Civilization (particularly the Anglosphere) concerning the treatment of women and children is unparalleled in world history. (Even going back to the middle ages priests would preach sermons in England about how a man shouldn’t hit his wife.)

      I know a couple of women foolish enough to marry Muslim men. The results were sadly predictable.

      Look at Sweden, look at Rotherham. It is women and children who will suffer most from massive third world and Islamic immigration.

      Save our civilization; oppose open immigration.

  60. Old Toad

    Hello, John Shepard,

    You wrote:
    All of those “border” phrases—”no borders,” “absolutely open borders,” “open borders,” etc.—used in attempts to criticize “open immigration” imply that “open immigration” means that there is no country, no jurisdiction, no right even to defend the country from a military invasion, and you can observe those implications in the questions that people bring up and in the accusations they make against “open immigration.”

    Finally. After thousands of words, thank you for the recognition of the problem.

    No matter the words “absolutely open borders” or “absolutely open immigration,” Binswanger explicitly argues for a country “without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports” (in peacetime).

    I agree that Binswanger does not argue there is “no country, no jurisdiction, no right even to defend the country from a military invasion.” (Excuse the double negative.)

    My criticism, however, is that he grants these theoretical rights, provided someone first acts suspiciously so as to give “probably cause” of being an enemy agent infiltrating the country or a foreign military first announces the intended invasion at least 7 days in advance with much fanfare. (The hyperbole is to emphasize the point.) This would be a dangerous policy, no matter what you call it.

    The principle of national self-defense gives the government of a country the right to interdict and ask questions of anyone or anything before permitting entry into the county. What those questions *should be* wouldn’t even come up without the right to interdict and ask.

    Respectfully,
    Old Toad

    • “Finally. After thousands of words, thank you for the recognition of the problem.”

      I’ve recognized the problem all along. It took “thousands of words” just to get you to acknowledge, assuming that you actually have, the problem involved in attacking “open immigration” by mischaracterizing it as something it is not—”open borders” or “absolutely open borders” or “no borders” etc.—and then attacking the resulting straw man. It was you, not I, who has been mischaracterizing “open immigration.” To now thank me for “recognizing the problem” after “thousands of words” is disingenuous on your part.

      “No matter the words “absolutely open borders” or “absolutely open immigration,” Binswanger explicitly argues for a country “without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports” (in peacetime).”

      Indeed. And when he says that things are “different in wartime, or when an epidemic breaks out in a certain region, of course” and that “in principle, there’s no objection to barring criminals from entering the country,” then perhaps, just perhaps—although I know it’s a stretch—such qualifications under the idea of “open immigration” mean that in dealing with such threats, then border patrols and border police and border checks and even passports would be appropriate. Of course, if one wants to ignore what he said and such implications, one can attack the idea of “open immigration” as a “Welcome to America” for any threats from foreigners.

      “I agree that Binswanger does not argue there is “no country, no jurisdiction, no right even to defend the country from a military invasion.” (Excuse the double negative.)

      “My criticism, however, is that he grants these theoretical rights, provided someone first acts suspiciously so as to give “probably cause” of being an enemy agent infiltrating the country or a foreign military first announces the intended invasion at least 7 days in advance with much fanfare. (The hyperbole is to emphasize the point.) This would be a dangerous policy, no matter what you call it.”

      I cannot make sense of what you’ve said. Binswanger grants what “theoretical rights”?

      “The principle of national self-defense gives the government of a country the right to interdict and ask questions of anyone or anything before permitting entry into the county. What those questions *should be* wouldn’t even come up without the right to interdict and ask.”

      Is there anything that the government of a country does not have the right to do in the name of the “principle of national self-defense” in relation to interdicting and asking questions of “anyone or anything before permitting entry into the country”?

  61. “Why Objectivists disagree on immigration” (August 3, 2015) by Harry Binswanger:

    http://www.hbletter.com/why-objectivists-disagree-on-immigration/

    • This is a better article from HB than his previous articles, which advocate open borders NOW, not waiting for some better future.

      “I think we all agree (certainly Leonard Peikoff does) that in a laissez-faire world, there’d be open immigration.”

      Well, in a universe consisting of HB and LP then “we all agree” equals HB and LP. But, in the real world, we DO NOT all agree that in a “laissez-faire world” there’d be open immigration as HB defines it. I personally think there’d be much more open immigration in a better world than I advocate today, just NEVER immigration between countries as we have between US states right now. If we abandon immigration control, we abandon US sovereignty, something people in the EU are finding out right now to their horror, and I am adamantly opposed to the US abandoning its sovereignty EVER.

      Similarly, this is not even a logical argument. It’s of the form: If FALSE, then CONCLUSION. There will NEVER be a “laissez-faire world”. There may be a time when some fraction of the world embraces laissez-faire, but it will NEVER be the case that we’ll have an entirely laissez-faire world. So this is yet again a rationalistic exercise, perfectly at home in some college classroom, but completely irrelevant to actual policy. HB will not come down from his rationalistic mountain and gather facts.

      • “This is a better article from HB than his previous articles, which advocate open borders NOW, not waiting for some better future.”

        By “advocate open borders NOW, not waiting for some better future,” of course you’re perhaps referring to (I’ve checked the three Forbes articles, but if there’s another one that you’re referring to, by all means identify it.) this from his HBL essay “Open Immigration”:

        “After a phase-in period, entry into the U.S. would be unrestricted, unregulated, and unscreened, exactly as is entry into Connecticut from New York.”

        So, what he actually said is the same thing as advocating “open borders NOW, not waiting for some better future,” even though he calls for “open immigration” (not “open borders”) after “a phase-in period” and notes an exception for wartime “or when an epidemic breaks out in a certain region” and also notes that “in principle, there’s no objection to barring criminals from entering the country.”

        Phase-in period is code of NOW, I assume.

        You quote this from this “better article from HB”:

        “I think we all agree (certainly Leonard Peikoff does) that in a laissez-faire world, there’d be open immigration.”

        And then say:

        ‘Well, in a universe consisting of HB and LP then “we all agree” equals HB and LP. But, in the real world, we DO NOT all agree that in a “laissez-faire world” there’d be open immigration as HB defines it.’

        For a bit more context, Binswanger said:

        “Why do Objectivists disagree on immigration? Well, they really don’t. I think we all agree (certainly Leonard Peikoff does) that in a laissez-faire world, there’d be open immigration. The disagreements arise because we are light-years away from that world”

        So, he was referring to Objectivists, not to some generic “we.”

        And given that you have stated that Binswanger called you a racist, then surely he’s not including you in “we,” unless you are now going to claim that Objectivism is a racist ideology.

        ‘I personally think there’d be much more open immigration in a better world than I advocate today, just NEVER immigration between countries as we have between US states right now. If we abandon immigration control, we abandon US sovereignty, something people in the EU are finding out right now to their horror, and I am adamantly opposed to the US abandoning its sovereignty EVER.’

        “in a better world than I advocate today”

        It’s quite clear that you don’t advocate a better world today or EVER.

        ‘Similarly, this is not even a logical argument. It’s of the form: If FALSE, then CONCLUSION. There will NEVER be a “laissez-faire world”. There may be a time when some fraction of the world embraces laissez-faire, but it will NEVER be the case that we’ll have an entirely laissez-faire world. So this is yet again a rationalistic exercise, perfectly at home in some college classroom, but completely irrelevant to actual policy. HB will not come down from his rationalistic mountain and gather facts.’

        NEVER NEVER NEVER!

        Thankfully you were not here in America at the time of the founding!

      • Alfred the Great

        This is a better article and I’m curious what prompted it. Other than an occasional concern about Islamic immigration, I haven’t heard open immigration types complain about multiculturalism and immigrants voting left.

        I don’t understand Binswanger’s claim that once we deal with Iran, Islamic immigration would be a “very minor problem.” It doesn’t take a lot of brains to shoot up a building. Muslims in the West have an obligation to commit Jihad whether or not Iran is destroyed. If the Vatican were bombed, Catholics in the US would act or belive differently?

        • I would suggest you read Elan Journo’s Winning the Unwinnable War. He makes the case that breaking the leader of global terrorism, Iran, will have a salutary effect on Muslims as people tend to follow the strong horse not the weak one.

      • maria.montinieri

        Ed,

        This is a better article from HB than his previous articles, which advocate open borders NOW, not waiting for some better future.^

        I don~t know that HB has backtracked from his open borders NOW position. He just realizes that you can disagree with him.

        As he says,

        ____

        Do immigrants, in the aggregate, take more out of the economy than they contribute? Some of us think “yes,” others think “no.” Will the immigrants assimilate and become Americans in spirit as well as in legal status, given our multiculturalist intellectual establishment? It’s a factual question, on which views differ. If immigrants are going to be given citizenship, will they vote leftist or could a better Republican strategy (and other ideological work by us) prevent this? Is there a really dangerous threat to our safety from massive Muslim immigration, or is this a very minor issue compared to what’s going to happen to us from Islamic regimes abroad, with or without that immigration?

        ____

        He does not say that the YES position is wrong. Just a month or two before, HB reposted an older essay saying that immigrants are virtuous, reduce crime and make the USA a better place to live. Has he retracted his view that immigration restictionists are motivated by racism.

  62. Crow Epistemologist

    Is it fair to characterize the view of the closed-border side of this argument as, since the preponderance of would-be immigrants would be Muslims or Socialists, then that fact ruins it for all of them regardless of their individual merit?
    Sounds like you just made an argument for gun laws, and about 90% of the welfare state to me.
    Meanwhile, these same people here are saying that in effect the massive changes to the country to get rid of the welfare state and annihilate all Muslims is impractical, but deporting 11 million people and closing our borders it totally realistic and something we should advocate for expediency’s sake.
    Oh yes, we should abandon all of our principles of individual rights because some (or even a lot, or even most) ruin it for the innocent. Congratulations closed-border Objectivists, you’ve just had your “SOME PIGS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS” moment.

    • Crow Epistemologist

      Or to put it still another way, advocating that we close our borders “because they will vote for the Democrats” is a totally practical, politically attainable thing to advocate and will be, with a little work on our part, accepted by a majority of Americans, but getting rid of the welfare state in the US and converting 1.5B Muslims is impossible.
      Uh huh. Sure.
      In actual reality, both are totally insane goals in today’s context, but one of them compromises our principles as Objectivists, and the other doesn’t.

      • Wendy

        What do you know about what is practical or not?

        • Crow Epistemologist

          LOL

        • Crow Epistemologist

          Well okay, fine. I’ll try to answer that seriously.
          Have you ever watched Fox News? Watch the commercials carefully as they betray the channel’s audience.
          Its the channel whose viewers would have the only chance of accepting the “close our borders because those outsiders want the welfare state” argument. The only problem is–and this is something Trump is showing everybody–is that the geriatric audience of Fox News absolutely LOVE their Social Security and the rest of the welfare state. They just don’t want “those funny-talking darker-skinned people” to have any of the benefits.
          The immigration “issue” as its being brought up at a time when immigration is down drastically is about one thing, and one thing only: racism.

    • “Sounds like you just made an argument for gun laws, and about 90% of the welfare state to me.”

      You lost me here. Who is alleging that the preponderance of gun owners are ‘bad’? If so, it wouldn’t be supported by the evidence.

      • Crow Epistemologist

        Nobody. But certainly some gun owners use them to do bad things, so by the closed border’s logic, we should ban all guns.

        • Then, I don’t think it’s a good analogy.

          ‘Bad’ gun owners are small in number & don’t represent an existential threat to our cities or society. Islam has already proven it’s hold on European policies & show itself on countless occasions to be a real threat to Western culture.

          • Crow Epistemologist

            The number of innocent Americans slaughtered by guns this year far exceeds the number killed by radical Islam. By about 1:10000 ratio I suspect. Guns kill people HERE and NOW for REAL REAL REAL.
            Meanwhile, lacking specific military threats (viz. real tank divisions, real nukes, real smart weapons) and compared to the absolutely overwhelming military superiority of the USA, to say that a bunch of terrorists with bombs strapped to their chests is an “existential threat” to the USA is just plain wacky.
            If you are going to go by real facts, real data, and real, immediate threats–and you’re the paranoid type whose ready to throw away our rights because you are scared–then by all means you should get the guns long before you go after some religious nuts or the terrifying terrorists who bus the tables at Denny’s, pick strawberries, and mow our lawns.

    • We have argued above, and will continue to argue, that it is NOT THE CASE that every individual has the right to come into the United States. Indeed, no open borders advocate has made any non-rationalist argument why every given individual does have a right to come to the US (or Israel, or the UK, or anywhere.) Indeed, almost all open-borders Objectivists I’ve ever heard say the US should have open borders, but of course Israel shouldn’t, with no explanation based on facts for their lack of principles.

      • Crow Epistemologist

        Got it. So Rights aren’t absolute. Sometimes, for expediency’s sake, Rights can be nullified. If you happen to belong to a grouping of people who routinely violate people’s rights, then you can/should have your Rights violated yourself.
        So is there a Right to guns? Some people violate the Rights of others with guns.
        What about black Americans? Statistically they commit more crimes than whites. Should we imprison them all just in case?
        Or to put it another way, now that we’re throwing the idea of Rights out the window, where does that leave us? You just make it up as you go along? Or more realistically, the politicians (and their customers) make it up as they go along?

        • Mr. Crow, it appears you are purposely misinterpreting what I am saying. Rights are absolute. All rights are absolute. My rights are absolute. Your rights are absolute. The illiterate peasant farmer in Ethiopia’s rights are absolute. However, immigrating to the US (or any other country) IS NOT A RIGHT. I don’t know how to put this in a more plain and understandable fashion. Countries are certain actual entities with certain actual characteristics. They have evolved based on some historical accident, but also based on other important elements of reality related to self-defense.

          When dealing with other countries’ governments or the individual citizens of other countries, a given country can and does treat the other country as a unit for purposes of interaction, and especially for purposes of self-defense. This should not be controversial. If an army division of country A attacks country B or threatens country B, country B is entitled not just to attempt to arrest the members of the invading army (as some libertarians have suggested), but to treat the act as an act of war from the entirety of country A, NO MATTER WHAT percentage of country A actually is in favor of the attack, supports the attack, supports the government, or even is a fervent supporter of country B. This is not “collectivist” or a violation of the individual citizens’s in country A’s rights. It is a proper understanding of what countries are in reality, and an understanding of the proper method of self-defense when presented with an attack.

          Mass immigration is not an armed attack, but it can in some instances (a lot of instances, really) be a different kind of attack, whether financial (in the case of Cloward-Pivening the welfare system), political (in the case of overwhelming the election process in a democracy), or cultural (in attacking the essential spirit–the sense of life–of a given country). These types of attacks re just as threatening as an invasion, indeed they are more threatening, since no conceivable military invasion could ever succeed in destroying the United States, but mass immigration could succeed. IT IS SUCCEEDING. So banning mass immigration is a proper, legitimate, principled mechanism of self-defense, in which NO INDIVIDUALS RIGHTS ARE VIOLATED. Because no one has a RIGHT to immigrate to the US (or any other country).

      • Romello Dellomand

        Ed. Where has an open immigration objectivist ever said Israel should not have open immigration? Ive read all of Harry’s articles on immigration and he doesn’t exempt Israel.

  63. Old Toad

    Hello, John Shepard.

    Binswanger’s substantive position regarding national borders is for a nation “without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports.” In peacetime. I trust this direct quote will not cause you any more confusion.

    I WROTE:
    The principle of national self-defense gives the government of a country the right to interdict and ask questions of anyone or anything before permitting entry into the county. What those questions *should be* wouldn’t even come up without the right to interdict and ask.

    SO YOU ASKED:
    Is there anything that the government of a country does not have the right to do in the name of the “principle of national self-defense” in relation to interdicting and asking questions of “anyone or anything before permitting entry into the country”?

    MY REPLY:
    Sure. Shooting on sight a butt naked person merely walking toward the border in broad daylight, for example. The same as in such a situation regarding a private home.

    You still haven’t acknowledged, however, any self-defense right to interdict and ask anything at all at a nation’s borders, so you appear to continue to support Binswanger’s position for a nation “without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports.” In peacetime.

    That is a dangerous position–for granting entry of a stranger to one’s private home–and the same for granting entry to a nation.

    Respectfully,
    Old Toad

    • “Binswanger’s substantive position regarding national borders is for a nation “without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports.” In peacetime. I trust this direct quote will not cause you any more confusion.”

      Problem is, the portion you quote does not capture the full scope of what “Binswanger’s substantive position regarding national borders is for a nation” is.

      Why is it that he would say that things are *different* with respect to what he calls for—no border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports—re “open immigration”:

      1) “in wartime, or . . .
      2) “when an epidemic breaks out in a certain region, of course,” and points out that
      3) “in principle, there’s no objection to barring criminals from entering the country”?

      Do you honestly think, considering all that Binswanger said on “open immigration” (Have you actually read the entire essay and given it due thought?) that such exceptions suggest that there are no conditions or exceptions to not having border patrols, border police, border checks, or even passports, or that calling for “open immigration” he implies that anyone and everyone should be free to enter the country regardless of the context, regardless of whether or not they pose a threat, and that there should never, under any circumstance or in any context or in the face of any threat be “border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports”? If you do, then you are taking the idea of “open immigration” out of context (of the principle of individual rights and proper government) and treating it as some out of context absolute, which it is not, and which Binswanger makes perfectly clear to anyone who grasps the whole of what he is calling for.

      What anti-open immigration critics are doing is exactly the same thing as what those one the left (and so-called right) do when they challenge calls for unregulated, free markets, by incredulously asking, for example: Do you mean that restaurants should be free to poison their customers? For such people, freedom is the equivalent of whim, of anything goes, including the violation of the rights of others…in a system dedicated to the protect of every individuals rights, limiting government by the principle of individual rights.

      “This was the intellectual context of the American Revolution. Point for point, the Founding Fathers’ argument for liberty was the exact counterpart of the Puritans’ argument for dictatorship—but in reverse, moving from the opposite starting point to the opposite conclusion. Man, the Founding Fathers said in essence (with a large assist from Locke and others), is the rational being; no authority, human or otherwise, can demand blind obedience from such a being—not in the realm of thought or, therefore, in the realm of action either. By his very nature, they said, man must be left free to exercise his reason and then to act accordingly, i.e., by the guidance of his best rational judgment. Because this world is of vital importance, they added, the motive of man’s action should be the pursuit of happiness. Because the individual, not a supernatural power, is the creator of wealth, a man should have the right to private property, the right to keep and use or trade his own product. And because man is basically good, they held, there is no need to leash him; there is nothing to fear in setting free a rational animal.

      “This, in substance, was the American argument for man’s inalienable rights. It was the argument that reason demands freedom. ” — Leonard Peikoff, “Religion vs. America”

      In the view of such people, those who truly have never grasped the meaning of individual rights, freedom means that anything goes, including murder, including the “right” of a foreign military to invade (crossing the border and entering the country). To such people, open immigration means that anything goes with respect to anyone coming into the country and that there are “no borders” or “absolutely open borders” or that there is no such thing as national sovereignty, etc., and that there is no context in which it would be proper to have border patrols, border police, border checks or even passport requirements.

      Neither “open immigration” nor freedom (or liberty) imply what the two ideas are misconstrued to be by such people, a call for the repudiation of the principle of individual rights, for the right to violate the rights of any individual.

      YOU WROTE:
”The principle of national self-defense gives the government of a country the right to interdict and ask questions of anyone or anything before permitting entry into the county. What those questions *should be* wouldn’t even come up without the right to interdict and ask.”

      SO I ASKED:
”Is there anything that the government of a country does not have the right to do in the name of the “principle of national self-defense” in relation to interdicting and asking questions of “anyone or anything before permitting entry into the country”?”

      YOUR REPLY:
”Sure. Shooting on sight a butt naked person merely walking toward the border in broad daylight, for example. The same as in such a situation regarding a private home.”

      What I was looking for, from you, was a principle, not one example. What is the principle that limits what a government may rightfully do with respect to those seeking to immigrate?

      “You still haven’t acknowledged, however, any self-defense right to interdict and ask anything at all at a nation’s borders, so you appear to continue to support Binswanger’s position for a nation “without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports.” In peacetime.

      “That is a dangerous position–for granting entry of a stranger to one’s private home–and the same for granting entry to a nation.”

      First off, a home is private property, owned by an individual(s), not collective property, and the owners have the right to determine for themselves who to let in and who to not let into their home. And with respect to one’s own home and who one has the right to allow in or keep out, other people have no say, nor does the government. In contrast, a nation is not private property but neither is it collective property. A nation is not owed by “the people” as a collective, nor is it owned by the government. So there’s no issue of granting anything, but of respecting the rights of individuals, and individuals have the right to choose what value to pursue and how to pursue them, including the right to move to another country or immigrate/emigrate. Of course, one has no right to violate the rights of others in the process, and likewise no one has the right to violate those who seek to immigrate/emigrate. The principle of individual rights applies to all individuals, not just those within a country.

      As to “any self-defense right to interdict and ask anything at all at a nation’s borders,” you have been answered and indeed you were answered in Harry Binswanger’s original essay “Open Immigration.” The problem is that you and others refuse to acknowledge the answer, because you refuse to see the forest for the trees.

      When I ask you what limits there are with respect to “any self-defense right to interdict and ask anything at all at a nation’s borders,” all you come up with is that the government cannot shoot “on sight a butt naked person merely walking toward the border in broad daylight,” but no principle. (The principle, were you to have identified it, would be the principle of individual rights.)

      You have claimed that an individual has a “right to leave” a country but no “right to enter” a country. I argued against your claim, but you have not indicated that you have changed your mind, so I assume you still hold the same view.

      So I will ask about it again: If one doesn’t have a “right to enter” a country, how then could one have a “right to leave” a country? How can one have a right to cross a line (border) but not have the right to be on the other side of that line, a right one would have to have of necessity if one has the right to cross that line (leave a country)?

      What’s the source and justification for such a “right to leave”?

      Why should any government, including one’s own, recognize and respect such a “right to leave” if there’s no “right to enter”?

      For that matter, assuming you think that there’s a right to travel within a country, by what right does anyone have the right to cross any jurisdictional lines, such as city limits, county lines or state borders?

      • Wendy

        Your posts are very evasive on the subject of whether there should be border checkpoints, border police, border patrols, and passports. It is no trivial matter to establish these things. They cannot be started up and operated effectively at the spur of the moment. As a practical matter, they must be standing operations, or else they do not work. So do you oppose standing border operations?

        As has been pointed out, the mere establishment of these controls is a hard line that runs through the presumption of innocence of the foreigner.

        Further, there is little practical difference between no screening and screening for the concrete concerns that most on the open immigration side advocate (disease, crime, terrorism). Whether the government lets in 100% vs. 95% does not in any way address the concerns of the pro-restrictions side.

        Regarding the right to enter vs. the right to leave: The right to leave involves a citizen’s relationship with his own government. The right to enter involves a foreign person and the government. The status of the foreigner with regard to our own government is what is under fundamental dispute.

        • Crow Epistemologist

          “The right to [whatever] involves a citizen’s relationship with his own government.”
          This is incorrect, and the wrong (and collectivist) way to view the Rights of Man.
          Rights are derived by the nature of Man, not by any particular government.
          You can make the case–perhaps–that a particular government may need to violate those Rights on occasion or even frequently, but no particular government gets to decide what Rights are anymore than they can pass a law dictating the value if pi.

          • Wendy

            You’re being obstinate. I did not and do not say rights are derived from the government. I was just explaining what leaving a country entails. That impacts the analysis.

            People simply do not have an inalienable right to enter another country.

      • Old Toad

        Hello, John Shepard.

        “Binswanger’s substantive position regarding national borders is for a nation “without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports.” In peacetime. Except during epidemics. Except for barring criminals “in principle,” but for which there would be no “border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports.”

        You are thrashing and gnashing with thousands of words to evade the “normal” context for Binswanger’s position that is the subject of this discussion.

        YOU WROTE:
        As to “any self-defense right to interdict and ask anything at all at a nation’s borders,” you have been answered and indeed you were answered in Harry Binswanger’s original essay “Open Immigration.” The problem is that you and others refuse to acknowledge the answer, because you refuse to see the forest for the trees.

        RESPONSE:
        Please identify “the answer” in Binswanger’s original essay that you are referring to and we supposedly refuse to acknowledge. A short quote would be appropriate to clear this right up.

        If you are referring to his exceptions for wartime and epidemics, and barring criminals “in principle,” we are discussing his regarding national borders is for a nation “without border patrols, border police, border checks, or passports” in NORMAL times.

        Respectfully,
        Old Toad

        • ‘You are thrashing and gnashing with thousands of words to evade the “normal” context for Binswanger’s position that is the subject of this discussion.’

          Read what he said for yourself and then draw your own conclusions. No more “thrashing and gnashing with thousands of words” for me.

          Perhaps if you do a search in his essays you’ll find the phrase “NORMAL times.” If not, I don’t think anything I could ever say would satisfy you.

  64. ironbull45

    “If you are going to go by real facts, real data, and real, immediate threats–and you’re the paranoid type whose ready to throw away our rights because you are scared–then by all means you should get the guns long before you go after some religious nuts or the terrifying terrorists who bus the tables at Denny’s, pick strawberries, and mow our lawns.”

    You & I obviously judge threats differently & I appreciate your focus on rights. I think if we boil it down to essentials, you do believe that there is a human ‘right’ to enter the United States. I do NOT agree with you.

    So we are just getting circular & I think the entire argument boils down to whether non-Americans have a right to live & work in the United States. As Ed Powell argued, I don’t even accept that presumption if we didn’t have a Welfare State.

    • Crow Epistemologist

      What other Rights are no longer valid in a welfare state?
      How about smoking? Smokers cost taxpayers billions of dollars because of the welfare state–they make poor choices, and we all need to pay for them because our government gives our free medical care.
      How about fast food? Ditto.
      How about… every single component of the nanny-state? They are all based on the same exact principle your are using. Some people ruin it for others, the individual of no consequence, and “we gotta do what we gotta do” even if it means making an absolute U-turn on everything we’ve stood for. You’ve gone down a slippery slope that ends up exactly where every single statist lives.
      And we’ve sold out our principles to… xenophobia? Seriously?
      By the way, I sure hope closed-border Objectivists aren’t thinking this is some sort of pragmatic political move (siding with the racist rednecks on immigration), because it’s not going to work. Check out the polls: Trump’s constituents are racist PLUS welfare state supporters. Trump’s astute–brilliant?–discovery is that all of those Fox News-loving nimrods aren’t Thomas Paines, they’re Strom Thurmonds. The Republican elite can’t believe what they are seeing but all he’s doing is plumbing the dead-end of the Southern Strategy. The “racist + not-welfare state” quadrant is… smaller than the one that Objectivists occupy now, which is saying something.

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  66. Old Toad

    In the discussions I have had here and elsewhere regarding “open immigration,” I have encountered a few major confusions regarding a government’s right to defend the territorial borders by interdicting people or machines heading into the country.

    EQUIVOCATION ON “GROUP” VS. “COLLECTIVISM”

    One confusion is that in delegating the individual right to self-defense, each property owner should be able to independently judge who is a threat and who is not in giving his permission to another person to enter his property, whether the person is a national or a foreigner. The argument is, there are only individual rights, not collectivized rights.

    However, a group of people is not necessarily collectivist.

    “Collectivism” is the idea that the group “is a supreme, omnipotent ruler, that it owns the lives of its members and may sacrifice them whenever it pleases to whatever it deems to be its own ‘good.’” Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, “The Roots of War,” p. 36.

    There are many situations where people delegate their rights for joint or other control, for example, marriages, business partnerships or corporations, and, of course, governments. For example, a person can sign a deal and contractually bind his spouse, or his business partners, or a corporation of many shareholders. Or he can vote for a candidate to represent in a government certain of his delegated political rights and interests. None of these organizational structures are necessarily “collectivist.”

    The delegation of certain individual rights and interests to national control does not, per se, necessarily involve any idea of “collectivism.” That would be the fallacy of a frozen abstraction.

    As Ayn Rand noted, it is not necessarily “collectivism” to hold all the people of a country financially responsible for the actions of its government:

    [quote]There is no such thing as a collective guilt. A country may be held responsible for the actions of its government and it may be guilty of an evil (such as starting a war)—but then it is a public, not a private, matter and the entire country has to bear the burden of paying reparations for it. The notion of random individuals paying for the sins of an entire country, is an unspeakable modern atrocity. The Ayn Rand Letter, “Moral Inflation—Part III,” Vol. III, No. 14, April 8, 1974.[/quote]

    Respectfully,
    Old Toad

    • Crow Epistemologist

      But you don’t voluntarily sign a contract to be a citizen of a country. It just happens to you when you are born. I never delegated my Rights to the government of the USA, nor has any non-US citizen wanting to come here.
      That said, this smacks of a *semantic* concern in any case: why, per se, do I care (or not) about something being labeled “collectivist”?
      If you take the word out of the equation, you will find that the reasons we don’t like “collectivism” and the reasons are we don’t like closed borders are the same reasons: they both systemically violate the Rights of people.
      And they both do it for the same reasons, using the same principle of non-individualized decision making on individuals.
      So how’s the skiing on that slippery slope that you on?
      Once you agree with the idea that individuals may be judged–and their Rights taken away–by sole fact of the group within which they belong, then you must agree, at least in principle, with every aspect of the modern nanny state. On this slippery slope over-taxing the rich is suddenly a judgement call, not a moral abomination.

    • Old Toad

      Hello, Crow Epistemologist,

      The “consent of the governed” in the Declaration of Independence does not mean your personal consent, which would imply a requirement of unanimous consent of you, me, and every last man of ALL the people for the institution and maintenance of government.

      A government is not based on the “social contract” theory. As Ayn Rand explained: “As to the “maximin” rule of choice, I can annul Mr. Rawls’s social contract, which requires unanimity, by saying that in long-range issues I choose that alternative whose best possible outcome is superior to the best possible outcome of the others.” The Ayn Rand Letter, “An Untitled Letter—Part II,” Vol. II, No. 10, February 12, 1973.

      Respectfully,
      Old Toad

      • Crow Epistemologist

        You didn’t respond to my point at all. If anything, you reinforced my point.
        To reiterate: a country cannot be compared to a condo complex because people don’t choose the country within which they were born. The analogy does not hold a drop of water.

        • Old Toad

          Hello, Crow Epistemologist.

          Thank you for your polite replies.

          You wrote that I haven’t addressed your point.

          However, you raised the “social contract” theory by previously arguing: “But you don’t voluntarily sign a contract to be a citizen of a country. It just happens to you when you are born. I never delegated my Rights to the government of the USA, nor has any non-US citizen wanting to come here.”

          As indicated by the quote of Ayn Rand I provided, she discussed and dismissed the “social contract” theory in The Ayn Rand Letter, “An Untitled Letter—Part II,” Vol. II, No. 10, February 12, 1973. It is a good article.

          If you are not arguing for the “social contract” theory, then you appear to be arguing for anarchy?

          Your personal agreement to the government’s use of force in self-defense of yourself and of others in the territory of the country is not required. There is a political process for determining such issues.

          As a U.S. citizen you have the freedom to speak on such issues plus your option to cast one vote out of multitudes.

          The agreement of non-US citizens is irrelevant. They don’t even have any right to vote in US politics at all.

          The government’s job is to defend the country against foreigners who may be threats, in the judgment of the government. Who or what is deemed a threat or welcomed into the country is a political question.

          Respectfully,
          Old Toad

          • Crow Epistemologist

            No, I didn’t presume that a “social contract” and a specific, signed contract between consenting adults had anything to do with each other. No rational person would equate those two, and neither would I. I didn’t use the terminology “social contract” either. So let’s stop talking about that idea.
            I am also not arguing for anarchy, which is also ridiculous and irrational.
            That said, is that the alternative? Anarchy or the systemic disregard for the natural Rights of 90% of the world’s population?
            The critical question at hand here is our treatment of non-US citizens. Are they to be treated as sub-human or not? Are American citizens (native born presumably) the only types of humans who possess natural Rights? Or do we believe that Rights are a thing given to humans by their nature and not by some government? And if so, are we prepared to *fight* for our ideal? Are we brave enough to put forth this ideal in ways that might put us in temporary danger, or might incur temporary trade-offs?
            The Founding Fathers of this nation put their very lives on the line for this ideal as did thousands of others after them. Whilst the closed-border types fear our country falling apart because they might vote for the wrong party (because oh yeah, previous waves of immigrants didn’t), to me the moment this country denies its **founding principle** is the day it ceases to exist as it did before:
            “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men who are currently citizens of this country are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
            Start a country with that sort of starting point and let me know how it goes…

          • Old Toad

            Hello, Crow Epistemologist,

            Please explain the relevance of your statement:
            “But you don’t voluntarily sign a contract to be a citizen of a country. It just happens to you when you are born. I never delegated my Rights to the government of the USA, nor has any non-US citizen wanting to come here.”

            If this is not a reference to social contract theory or anarchy, I don’t know what you are talking about.

            Respectfully,
            Old Toad

          • Crow Epistemologist

            Toad: a private contract between individuals, such as the contract between you and your condo complex, is something that adults sign. Citizenship, in the context we have been talking about it, happens when you are born.
            You (you, not me) were equating citizenship with that of a contract between adults. They have nothing to do with each other and the context is completely different since citizenship is by definition not voluntary.
            I still don’t know what “social contract” and “anarchy” have to do with any of this, besides making nice and fragile straw men…

  67. Crow Epistemologist

    The veritable first line of the founding of the USA reads:
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
    The Founding Fathers could have chosen to start the complicated story of their nascent nation in a thousand other ways. Wanting to create an enduring and powerful nation, they could have emphasized safety; they could have emphasized the military (“strength” etc.); they could have emphasized (more narrowly) justice; they could have emphasized their grievances with their existing nation; they could have emphasized prosperity; they could have emphasized many other things that nations before them emphasized.
    But they didn’t. They started with the idea–an the moral goal–that all persons on Earth have the same Rights, and theirs would be the nation to honor those Rights.
    Far from being a suicide pact, this approach to a Nation has created the most powerful such specimen on Earth.

    • Old Toad

      Hello, Crow Epistemologist,

      The American Declaration of Independence did emphasize a long list of grievances against the existing nation, that was, the King of Great Britain.

      The preamble of the U.S. Constitution for establishing a new government did include just about everything else you mentioned: “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.”

      The government of the United States was not formed for securing the rights of “all persons on earth,” but for “we the people of the United States.” That does not violate the rights of foreigners.

      Despite starting with all of these issues, neither of these founding documents of America was a “suicide pact.”

      Respectfully,
      Old Toad

      • Crow Epistemologist

        Yes I know what the constitution and other subsequent documents say, and my post implies as much. It’s what they STARTED with that is the telling thing: it’s what gave them the moral cover to do what they subsequently had to do, which is make war against their home country.
        The Founding Fathers believed in Rights as a universal attribute of all human beings, and that was the battle cry of the American Revolution.
        If the founding of the USA did not involve the **moral cause** of Individual rights, it would never have been formed, or it would not have lasted.
        Immigration, on a practical level, absolutely made the USA what it is today, and it is inseparable from the nature of our country.
        And no–straw man alert–simply recognizing universal rights does not imply that the USA is on the hook to actively protect everybody on every corner of the Earth. It simply means that we believe what the founding words of our country’s existence says: that all Men are created equal. That we treat people as individuals with individual rights when they arrive at our doorstep, not some animal who belongs to another species.

        • Wendy

          Immigration from Enlightened countries, mostly Britain, is what made the USA. Mass immigration from countries not impacted by the Enlightenment did not. It’s easy to have open borders when the masses of people coming in are Enlightened. That window in history did not last long. It is now closed.

          That open immigration is inseparable from the nature of our country is an arbitrary claim. The post-1965 experience demonstrates quite the contrary.

          • Crow Epistemologist

            You mean the experience of our GDP going up by 6 times, inflation adjusted?
            You mean the experience of our country’s rockets going to the moon?
            You mean the experience where we went from a top marginal income tax of 69% in 1965 to 35% today?
            You mean the experience where we won the cold war and built an army more powerful than all other countries on Earth combined?
            I see what you mean. Look what those low-life non-Anglos did to us.
            ***
            One word: racism. Primitive, tribal, collectivist RACISM.

          • Wendy

            The Enlightenment is now racist.

          • Lisa James

            Not only did most of the world not have their own Enlightenment, but when exposed to it, they reject it. People are highly imitative, If some people can see that self restraint, control in sexual matters, hard work, etc. produce a prosperous society and chose not to embrace these values it is most likely that they are not capable. Nature didn’t endow all people with identical intelligence and self control.

  68. Ed Mazlish

    Reading the above comments, I find several things striking.

    1. The advocates of open immigration/open borders argument that there is an absolute right to free trade and freedom of movement is essentially an argument for capitalism. But Ayn Rand specifically wrote that capitalism is a derivative issue, and that hierarchically rationality and egoism precede capitalism. Those of us arguing for screening of immigrants are arguing on the higher plane of the rationality and egoism of the immigrants, rather than the lower hierarchical plane of capitalism. Because the two sides are arguing on different planes, the two sides are essentially talking past each other.

    2. The open borders/open immigration advocates’ distinction between private property owners right to do what they want with their property, as distinguished from a government’s higher obligation to not act arbitrarily or irrationally, is at root a defense of private property owner to act arbitrarily and irrationally. This is undoubtedly true, but it’s striking that defense of such whom worship is being advanced in the name of a supposed moral imperative of Ayn Rand. there does not appear to be any disagreement that a rational private property owner does screen who enters his property, by putting locks on the door, by asking who is at the door when the doorbell rings and various other security measures. Rational people do not act arbitrarily and do not act itrationally generally, and they certainly don’t act arbitrarily and irrationally when it comes to their security. Yet the advocates of open borders/open immigration demand that the government of a free society must act that way when it comes to protecting its citizens from foreigners.

    3. Although the open borders/open immigration advocates generally claim that their is a distinction between open borders and open immigration, in fact they cannot demonstrate a coherent difference in practice. This is because ANY screening, including for infectious diseases, past criminality, or terrorist ties necessarily contradicts the presumption of innocence and the right to remain silent that exists within the society. This is why when Old Toad and Wendy above pressed for the distinction, they got nothing but snarls of evasion in response. In Amy’s response to my article, she said that I have unfairly characterized Craig Biddle’s position – but neither he (who I have asked directly) nor any other open immigration advocate (as distinguished from an open borders advocate) has offered any example of screenings that do not violate the presumption of innocence, nor how such screenings would be conducted without border checkpoints, border guards or passports. Harry Binswanger is wrong on this issue, but at least his proposal to replace the above with “Welcome to America” signs is logically consistent and coherent. Wrong, but consistent and coherent.

    4. Charges of racism and xenophobia in the present context are pure Arguments from Intimidation. Ideas and reasons having nothing to do with racism or xenophobia have been consistently offered in response to the open borders/open immigration argument. Arguments from Intimidation violate Amy’s request that the discussion be kept polite, and in general have no place on an Objectivist forum debating serious ideas.

    • Lisa James

      If open immigration Objectivists were consistent, they’d not only call for Israel to have open immigration but call Israel racist as well. I mean, what could be more racist than the Law of Return and a policy to keep Israel Jewish?

      And they would send their children to minority dominated schools.

      But of course they don’t because they know that ethnicity matters. You could import ten million Congolese into Japan and they would never assimilate or become successful. People who couldn’t invent the wheel or writing will never succeed in a technological society.

      I saw the other day that Slovokia will accept only a small number of Syrians and only Christians. Good to know that there are countries who want to protect their women and children from rape.

      • Crow Epistemologist

        Oh my God, not MINORITY DOMINATE SCHOOLS. The HORRORS. Imagine your CHILDREN consorting with, with, with… THOSE people!
        ***
        Ed: I mentioned evidence of the anti-immigration stance being driven by vile racism. See: the poster here calling herself, “Wendy” as another bit (in an infinitely large pile) of evidence…

        • Crow Epistemologist

          Correction: the above should read, “‘Wendy’ and ‘Lisa James'”. I just noticed there are two examples here…

          • Wendy

            Lisa James’ post does not represent my viewpoint. I argued that culture matters, not race or ethnicity, and your equivocation between the two is not just sloppy, but morally unacceptable, given what is at stake.

            If racists are now getting a public hearing, that is the fault of the open borders/immigration side for shutting off the debate and abusing honest people to the point of backlash. Now there is chaos.

          • Wendy

            She does have a point about the schools, and you won’t be allowed to evade it by turning it around on others. The open borders/immigration folks are complete and total hypocrites for avoiding minority-dominated schools for their own children. Jorge Ramos, the open borders leftist activist, was just in the news for that. He just tried to disrupt a Trump speech by grandstanding over the issue, but it turns out he sends his daughters to an expensive private school rather than putting them in the nearby illegal alien-dominated public schools. He doesn’t live consistently with his own beliefs. Your side does not practice what it preaches.

          • Crow Epistemologist

            Wow, I think I just had an “out of body straw man experience”: other people unrelated to me or my views (and with whom I most likely disagree) where subjected to a straw man attack, and then those unrelated people were equated to me.
            It was a *religious* (and I mean that in the epistemological sense) experience!

      • Wendy

        Your statement that “ethnicity matters” actually IS racist. Race/ethnicity is not determinant. If it were so important, how could Greeks have been the ones to invent civilization? Today Greeks are recognized as failures. Further, why applaud the acceptance of Christians and the rejection of Muslims from the same ethnic stock (in Syria) if ethnicity is destiny? Culture is what matters.

        • Lisa James

          Wendy,

          Ethnicity matters and culture matters, but ethnicity even more. A group can develop an advanced culture only to the extent that its innate intelligence allows it. In fact, the genes responsible for brain development have been found and they vary from race to race; also they affect those areas of the brain which are connected to intelligence differently. So, the science has pretty much ended discussion on this issue.

          As far as the modern Greeks go, they don’t have much to do with the ancient Greeks. Genetically Greeks of today are closer to the Turks. In addition, in the last 100 years Greece has had huge immigration, mostly of the middle and upper class which has result in the lowering of the Greek IQ.

          Look at all the money Australia has spent on the aborigines and they are as poor and dysfunctional as ever. In the US we’ve spent billions on inner city schools. The children of Asian and White families in those schools do just fine, but the Blacks don’t.

          • Lisa James

            Wendy and Mr. Crow, you might want to look at the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Stud, which the egalitarians have been trying to evade for years.

            A few years ago Charles Murray suggested that scholars of different persuasion on the race/IQ issue get together and do genetic testing on Black Americans to determine the percentage of European/African genes and then test their IQs to see if there was a correlation. Funny, no one of the “culture only” school agreed to take part and the study was never done. Wonder why.

          • Wendy

            Archaeologists have actually dug up ancient Greeks, and DNA has been tested. They are the same people as today.

            Also, the first philosophers were on the west coast of Asia Minor – what is now Turkey.

            Also, most geneticists believe that Europeans and Asians burst out of what is now Turkey.

            The Australian aborigines are of Asian descent and were pre-civilized, versus the Australian settlers who had almost 3000 years of civilizational development behind them. Culture cannot be instilled in a mass population in 50 or 100 years unless the people are specifically super motivated, as was the extraordinary case of Japan post WWII. It takes centuries. American blacks are not generally assimilated. They still have their own culture. But read the works of black abolitionists almost 200 years ago. They were geniuses. The Enlightenment was still in force back then.

            Twin studies only test people within the same culture. Try putting one baby in the West and one in the Middle East, and the IQ would probably vary 20 points.

            IQ is an effect, not a cause. A neuron is a neuron.

    • Crow Epistemologist

      There’s a direct logical link between racism and anti-immigration and there has been in every country for a thousand years. It’s not an argument from intimidation, it’s a plain old argument with lots of factual evidence.
      Trying to win your argument by getting the moderator to kick off your rivals, on the other hand… what do you suppose that is? Have I cornered you or what?
      Ayn Rand advocated individual Rights as the basis of capitalism. The hierarchy was:
      Reality–>Reason–>The Nature of Man–Rights–>Capitalism
      ………….–>The Nature of Man–>Morality
      You can’t take Rights out of the hierarchy. Rights and Morality are at the same level, hierarchically.
      But fascinating that you are trying to take Rights out of the equation for *this* subject but I’m willing to bet its an absolute in many other arguments you make. Check your premises my friend.

  69. ironbull45

    Thank you again for your cogent arguments. You have convinced me, a former open immigration advocate, about the proper response to the problem as it presents itself today.

  70. Crow Epistemologist

    I think Ed Mazlish might agree that we are beating this topic into the ground and there’s probably no solution. Objectivists will disagree on this, I guess.
    I want to repeat one last point here because I have observed evidence of cynical political moves coming out of the Objectivist universe, and I fear siding with the racist rednecks (i.e. continuing the Southern Strategy to try to put the Republicans in the White House) is the goal of this apparent “grey area” in Objectivist doctrine.
    My point is simple: it won’t work. Donald Trump is not going to win the Whitehouse, indeed, he’s going to ensure that //President Hillary//, sorry, President Bernie wins all 50 states in a landslide. We really are a nation of immigrants, so waging a war on them is not going to win an election.
    If Objectivists side with Trump this election cycle they will go right off the cliff, politically speaking, along with Trump. Donald Trump and his less consistent challengers are going to split the Republican party in half with this racist/populist garbage. Objectivists would do well to steer clear of the wreckage.

    • Advocating an intelligent immigration policy, one based on actual actuarial risk and individual screening, as opposed to inviting the entire third world into the United States, is so completely removed from advocating the support of–or the voting for–Donald Trump for president that I am amazed that you would assume that’s what this debate is about. Certainly Trump has elevated the issue in the campaign so that people are discussing it much more now (something that is healthy in a culture dominated by speech suppression due to political correctness), and for that we owe Trump a (partial) debt of gratitude, but that’s a far cry from actually supporting the man for president. I, like Amy, am a Cruz man myself, even though Cruz is squishy on immigration, primarily because he is so strong on everything else. I will tell you all now, though, that as things stand today, the idea of 4 or 8 more years of the Clinton Crime Family in power is so odious to me that if forced to choose between Hillary and Trump, I can conceive of myself pulling the lever for Trump, though while holding my nose so severely that reconstructive surgery might be necessary afterwards. That conceivability may change, however, as the next 15 months evolve.

      Secondly, the purely political strategy idea that “Republicans have to court the hispanic vote or they will be consigned to irrelevance” has been so thoroughly refuted in so many different venues that I’m shocked to find it repeated here. Though not a matter of principle or philosophy, and thus probably not of interest to most readers, it most definitely is a matter of simple math. As Ann Coulter points out (and provides the references), if hispanics had voted 70/30 for Romney in the last election, rather than the reverse–an election result utterly inconceivable in an identity politics dominated minority culture in the US–Romney still would have lost. But if white voters had moved just a few percentage points in Romney’s favor–something totally conceivable–he would have won handily. With regard to groups dominated by identity politics, there is no way the Republicans can out-pander the Democrats. Certainly, I think the Republicans should reach out to hispanics, blacks, Asians, and others, under the general principle that Republicans should strive to represent all the people of the United States. But as a purely political strategy, this will not make more than a few percentage points difference in minority voting patterns, and thus is only relevant in local races, certainly not in a presidential race dominated by the math of the electoral college.

      I would certainly love to live in a country where immigrants didn’t block-vote for the government handout party, but that would mean the immigrants would come from an individualist culture, and as we’ve repeatedly stressed, none of the third world immigrants come from an individualist culture. And that is just one of the many problems of mass third world immigration.

      • Crow Epistemologist

        You mean an “individualist culture” where entire races of people are branded a certain way, and their Rights are systemically violated accordingly? A culture where they would make a policy out of absolutely DENYING the individual in favor of judging them according to the political grouping they (through no fault of their own) happen to belong to?
        “Individualist Culture”: don’t use big words you don’t understand…

    • Wendy

      So now Southerners are racist rednecks. Who is the chauvinist here? And it is okay to smear Southerners as racist, but judging people from outside the country is off-limits? This type of wretchedly perverse judgment against fellow Americans, which your side has been ever quick to offer, is why your side is perceived as anti-American. You do not even live by your own supposed principles of judging people as individuals in a political context.

      At any rate, I think more qualified people can do the political analysis and determine what needs to be done.

      • Crow Epistemologist

        LOL. Looks like you’ve got Ann Coulter’s shtick down cold.
        As for the word, “southern” you fixated on: the “Southern Strategy” is…
        …the Southern Strategy is…
        Oh forget it… waste… of… time…
        Southern Strategy is a blended whiskey drink. You can mix it with Crown and create a call drink that goes by the name, “A Royal Scandal”. No joke. Ask your bartender.

  71. Crow Epistemologist wrote:

    “I think Ed Mazlish might agree that we are beating this topic into the ground and there’s probably no solution. Objectivists will disagree on this, I guess….”

    Perhaps, but it’s a good and worthwhile discussion that merits continuation. Your comment provides me an opportunity to add something I haven’t added above.

    One of the subtexts to this debate is the desire, certainly on the side of the open immigration/open borders people but also for many on the immigration screening side, to UNIVERSALIZE principles. I believe this is a huge mistake for anyone on either side doing it. In this context, “universalization” is a fancy term for the equally fancy phrase “institutionalization of context dropping.”

    People not only disagree on the facts, but even where they agree on the facts they approach the situation with different value hierarchies which make a universal, one size fits all policy that is applicable at all times in all places for all people for all contexts.

    For example, whether Muslim or even Third World immigration leads to a “deterioration of culture,” and whether those foreigners will come here and help the statists destroy the remnants of a free society which remain in America is a factual question. And not a very easy one to answer. I can point to Europe and its present Muslim problem. I can point to the Democrats welcome of the Irish, Italians and Jews and placing them in government jobs during the 19th and early 20th centuries as crucial factors in the support FDR had for the New Deal. I can point to the birthplace of Progressivism in Wisconsin and the Midwest as being correlated to immigration and settlement of Germans there. But others can point to Carnegie, to Ayn Rand, and more generally to the obvious benefits that immigrants provided to this country. Whether immigration as a whole is a net plus or not is a factual dispute that is not easily resolved, and on which reasonable people may differ.

    But even if we agreed on the facts, personal value hierarchies further preclude the universalization of principles in this context. Suppose that we all agreed, for example that Europe is being destroyed today because of unchecked immigration. There are some among us who personally believe it is worth it to risk letting in millions of Muslim barbarians in the hope of finding the next Ayn Rand (or 100 Ayn Rands). There is no single “right” answer to whether you should or should not be willing to take that risk – some are comfortable with it, others are not.

    The Declaration of Independence provides that governments derive their power from the consent of the governed, and that when government becomes destructive of the ends of securing the people’s rights the people may abolish that government and institute new government that will allow them to be happy (I’m paraphrasing from memory, so apologies for the inexactitude of the quote). This is one of the geniuses of federalism – it allows different people to govern themselves locally and independently without forcing others’ viewpoints on dissenters. This is a particularly unappreciated attribute about American federalism, one that has been lost because it was once used to defend slavery. But it is a vitally important one – in a future Objectivist world, there might be several Objectivist countries which implement different policies on this and other subjects, each government reflecting the value hierarchies of the people living within its respective jurisdictions.

    Even if one side were wholly right and the other wholly wrong in this immigration debate – which as I intimate above I do not think is the case – federalism is still the appropriate solution. In the real world, the truth is not just sitting out there waiting for people to scoop it up and understand. It must be learned, through experience and mistakes. There is no way around that and no shortcut – just as we cannot simply tell the barbarians in the Middle East that they must respect rights, but rather must let them learn it for themselves (as the Egyptians may be doing), so it is true even in the generally rights respecting world. If I am correct about immigration screening and the need to respect that the Law of Identity applies to groups, those who support open borders/open immigration need to learn that lesson firsthand for themselves by implementing the wrong policy and suffering the consequences – not follow my orders. Similarly, if the other side is right, I need to see for myself how waves of immigration help a different Objectivist society grow faster and better than mine, without me being ordered to comply and accept their judgment as my own.

    Ayn Rand criticized federalism for its potential for accepting rights violations. That is a valid criticism, but I think ultimately a misguided one. People need to be able to learn from their mistakes. Except for the most egregious rights violations, such as slavery, people should not be forced to accept truths that they have not yet seen for themselves. This is true whether we are speaking of barbarians or if we are speaking of fellow advocates and defenders of individual rights, who happen to disagree with us.

  72. Lisa James

    Ed:

    _____

    For example, whether Muslim or even Third World immigration leads to a “deterioration of culture,” and whether those foreigners will come here and help the statists destroy the remnants of a free society which remain in America is a factual question. And not a very easy one to answer. I can point to Europe and its present Muslim problem. . . . . But others can point to Carnegie, to Ayn Rand, and more generally to the obvious benefits that immigrants provided to this country. Whether immigration as a whole is a net plus or not is a factual dispute that is not easily resolved, and on which reasonable people may differ.
    ______

    But we have enough evidence that I think it’s hard for reasonable people to differ. Hispanics have been in the US for generations, and they are assimilating into the welfare state. Their rates of crime, illegitimacy, and welfare dependency are extremely high

    And the track record of Muslims in Europe is equally clear and even more disturbing.

    Now people might say that this is “determinism.” Well, I think for as long as the eye can see blacks will vote Democratic. That’s not determinism, it’s just a fact (to the extent that social science things can be facts).

    The Muslim world (1.5 billion) has produced 2 Nobel Prize winners in the hard sciences. Mexico (population 120 milllion) all of one.That’s the same number combined as New Zealand (population 4.5 million). If the next Ayn Rand of Ludwig von Mises comes from the Muslim world or Mexico I’ll eat my hat.