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I am an unashamed, unabashed “open borders type.” I’m not a communitarian, so I don’t see the issue in utilitarian terms (although if I did, I’d still be an “open borders type”). I am an individualist, so I see things through the lens of the rights of the individual: an individual’s right to engage in non-violent actions, including to move without restriction, and my right to associate freely with whomever I damn well please.
In another thread, the question was put to me what, if any, maximum number of immigrants would be acceptable. The implied alternative to a numerical limit would be an infinite number. I don’t have a specific number in mind, nor should I.
We’re talking about people who come to America to work and live in freedom and peace and be productive. They leave their homes and travel to another nation because their home country is so terrible and America is awesome.
But why does there have to be a number? Frankly, any number would be arbitrary.
And no, it’s not infinite. It couldn’t possibly be infinite. As pointed out in that other thread, 40% of illegal immigrants come here by plane and hundreds of millions of people would come to America if they could.
Well then, why haven’t they? If the borders are as open as immigration hawks claim they are, why hasn’t everyone else in the world come here already?
The answer is that magic doesn’t exist. There are costs involved in immigrating to the United States. If you live in some terrible third world country on a dollar a day or less, you can’t afford a ticket to LaGuardia. It’s obvious, but I guess it needs to be said, that the number of people who immigrate to the United States in a given year is constrained by reality.
But even the idea of a specific arbitrary number is statist nonsense. In any other context, if we weren’t talking about illegal immigration, an arbitrary numerical limit would be seen for what it is. Andrew Cuomo think that six is enough rounds in a magazine. Barack Obama thinks that at a certain point you have enough money. There are plenty of liberals who think that people who own more than one gun are terrifying. Each of those is an arbitrary numerical limit on freedom.
People want to come to America. It’s awesome here and we all know it. A man can say and believe anything he wants. He can work at a trade and be prosperous. Anybody can own a plot of land with a house on it.
The whole seasteading movement is really a way to get around limits on visas for high tech work. Think about that: It’s the policy of the United States to keep people out who:
1. Want to come here
2. Want to work
3. Possess labor so valuable that there’s a movement to create artificial islands to get them here.
People are going to come to America. We can make it easy for them or we can impose arbitrary limits and keep out people who we actually want to come here.
I get it. Freedom is scary to people. They want the government to come in and limit things. I understand the psychology behind it. Just don’t expect me to agree with it or to participate in applying your statist shackles to freedom.Published in