Why We Can’t Have Open Borders: Immigration and Welfare

If your hands are in my wallet you have my attention.

Thus speaks Stefan Molyneux (5:22) as he goes through the latest statistics on welfare usage between native-born Americans and immigrants. Without revealing what should be obvious to most, this is the most important video I have watched this year and probably will be the most important one for you if you’re an American.

As someone who is a native-born American and an ethnic minority in the same neighborhood I grew up in, surrounded by immigrants both legal and illegal, the stats match my personal experience. When I worked a minimum wage job at the local grocery store to pay for college, I would be approached later in the night by customers who could hardly speak English, asking me to help them pick out their groceries according to their food stamps, which they could not read. Immigrant kids who attended my local high school wore brand new shoes and had cell phones, paid for by welfare, then begged the community for food when the local teachers union went on strike (no free lunches).

I was not shocked by what Molyneux presented, just utterly frustrated that libertarian outlets like the Cato Institute, Reason, and others like Jeffrey Tucker – the worst offender of all in this issue – pretend like this disparity in welfare usage doesn’t exist. And if they talk about welfare use at all, it’s a miracle. Most of the time it’s ignored.

They act as though racism or nativism is the sole motive for opposing open borders; they don’t seem bothered at the idea of people entering a community, refusing to assimilate into the culture, refusing to adopt the values, all while using resources stolen from the natives and then voting to take more in addition to restricting other people’s rights.

Naturally, I don’t like borders, and I don’t like the state having any say over who can come and go. Those who can restrict who comes in also can restrict who leaves, the latter of which is of more concern to me.

What’s missed is that a defining feature of a free society isn’t that it allows anyone in but it allows anyone to leave. As one West German said of visiting East Germany, they didn’t care what was brought in, only what was taken out. The Berlin Wall wasn’t constructed to keep enemies out, but to keep its own people from fleeing.

Democracy and the welfare state also create external elements which makes this more than a mere “freedom of movement” matter that it is portrayed as. People don’t just cross invisible lines in the ground. They gain the power to vote to take away my rights.

When there is an enormous hole in the boat, it needs to get plugged. Instead, they keep insisting that we bail out the water, then gaslight us into thinking there is no hole and if there is no one it’s fine.

This ship will not stay afloat indefinitely.

So what’s the solution? There is no silver bullet. I’ve provided some ideas. Honestly, I think we crossed a line a while back in which a purely peaceful solution is no longer feasible. At some point conflict and strife will arise regardless of the direction we ahead. I don’t like it, but there it is.

Somebody is going to have to pay for all this welfare eventually; debt financing will ultimately end in the future. When that happens, do you think it is going to be those using it who will pay? Or do you think it will be you, or your children and grandchildren? Even if you leave the country to escape paying the debt, you will still have to pay income taxes, and should someone find a way to protect the wealth of emigrants, then that’s when the country will have open borders coming in but closed borders coming out.

Putting all that aside, though, something people like Tucker and Reason and Cato should consider: The vast majority of libertarians are white, which will soon be a minority in this country. When that happens, do you think immigrants and the descendants of today’s immigrants are going to become libertarians and read Reason articles? Do you think they’re going to support libertarian activism? Do you think they’re going to sign up for an account at Liberty.me or download and listen to the Cato Home Study Course?

What do you think is more likely an outcome: That the vast majority of immigrants will advocate for libertarianism, or support the very policies these publications and individuals are opposed to?

Do you think they’re going to vote to reduce the state, or expand it? (Molyneux addresses this at 33:10). In the interest of pure self-preservation, they might want to consider the question.

The reality is that not only are they consuming welfare, but their attitude on gun rights are not in our favor.It is the one liberty which Americans have refused to budge on and will probably start a revolution over.  If you don’t see the horrific potential for racial strife and pogroms as a result of this disparity when immigrants and their children become a voting majority and pass gun control laws, you need to get new glasses.

If immigration is going to lead to an overall bigger state and make it harder to abolish, then libertarians are justified in wanting to see it reduced or controlled in order to prevent such people from coming here and undermining our efforts.

It is as simple as that.

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13 Responses to Why We Can’t Have Open Borders: Immigration and Welfare

  1. From C4SS:

    “If someone in Spain and someone in Saudi Arabia want to meet in Bangladesh, preventing them by force from doing so simply because of their starting locations cannot be justified. The same two people, if living across the street from one another and meeting in a local restaurant, would do no harm and face no border controls. The inconsistency is morally intolerable.”

    Here is a clear example of a left libertarian’s complete confusion of property rights and freedom in general. I wonder if the author of the statement above, Jeff Ricketson, would have a problem, if in his hypothetical scenario, one or both of these travelers went through his bedroom, or his son’s or daughter’s room? At what point would he concede that he has a property right to deny access to strangers? What if these strangers decided among themselves that the food stored in the author’s house was also from the Earth and therefore free for anyone to consume? Would Mr. Ricketson object to strangers depleting his food reserves meant for his family without his consent? The intruders could argue, based on the principles of democracy, that two votes to one gives them the majority to lend justice to their cause.

    His economic argument is so vague and poorly constructed, I won’t waste my time refuting it, but its worth a read for giggles. I love it when left libertarians play economics.

    He sums up his argument for open borders with:

    “Borders are rights violations and economic burdens…They represent arbitrary violence and limit human potential.”

    But the dissolution of my rights through the democratic process by those crossing over said borders isn’t a rights violation, and expanding the welfare and regulatory state certainly won’t become an economic burden in Jeff’s mind. I wonder if my human potential will be limited, if I have to give up more and more of my income and freedom to satisfy the democratically ascertained needs of growing population of uneducated welfare dependent immigrants. And I wonder if the forceful collection of said portion of my income by agents of the state at the behest of my newly immigrated pals would, to Mr. Ricketson’s mind, be considered arbitrary violence?

    You were absolutely right my friend in one of your prior statements that the open borders advocates can’t even mention the welfare state in same breath as their Georgian pronouncements of a world without landed property or borders. They also make no distinction between private property borders and arbitrary government borders, because to them, private property barely exists.

    https://c4ss.org/content/35310

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Question says:

      But the dissolution of my rights through the democratic process by those crossing over said borders isn’t a rights violation, and expanding the welfare and regulatory state certainly won’t become an economic burden in Jeff’s mind. I wonder if my human potential will be limited, if I have to give up more and more of my income and freedom to satisfy the democratically ascertained needs of growing population of uneducated welfare dependent immigrants. And I wonder if the forceful collection of said portion of my income by agents of the state at the behest of my newly immigrated pals would, to Mr. Ricketson’s mind, be considered arbitrary violence?

      According to their logic, if the U.S. military had entered Iraq without weapons in their hands it would not have violated the NAP for them to do so, but it would have been a violation of the NAP for the Iraqis to prevent them from doing so. It is no different when people enter a jurisdiction with the intent of expropriating state resources or voting to take away other people’s rights. The means by which they do it is simply transferred to the state so it is done in an indirect and more subtle manner.

      Consider this scenario I thought of: An armed immigrant is trying to “illegally” enter a country without going through customs. A border patrol agent sees him trying to cross and orders him to stop. The immigrant refuses. The border patrol agent moves in to arrest him. The immigrant pulls out his gun to prevent the arrest, to which the agent wields his gun.

      Which one of them in this scenario is morally justified shooting the other? And why?

      If the immigrant has the “freedom of movement,” then the agent is actually kidnapping him and thus shooting him is justified.

      I would love to see progressive libertarians actually argue that immigrants have the right to enter a country and kill anyone who resists as long as it’s a white-majority Western country.
      But that is in fact what they are arguing, even if they don’t realize it.

      You were absolutely right my friend in one of your prior statements that the open borders advocates can’t even mention the welfare state in same breath as their Georgian pronouncements of a world without landed property or borders. They also make no distinction between private property borders and arbitrary government borders, because to them, private property barely exists.

      It is incredibly frustrating for me, because it makes the discussion impossible when one side creates strawmen or ignores vital externalities that are the entire basis for the other side’s argument. If they have an actual solution for this dilemma, I’m more than willing to listen and consider, but they keep talking past us.

      The worst offender of this is Jeffrey Tucker, who in his pro-open border article actually wrote that immigrants “vote as libertarian as Americans,” which is to say they don’t vote libertarian at all, but that would endanger his chances of getting it published in $1 Newsweek magazine. It has got to be the most intentionally deceitful and intellectually dishonest statement I have heard on the topic.

      Meanwhile, progressives are openly bragging about how immigration trends will give new life to their gun control agenda.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brian says:

    I originally found your blog some weeks ago when I frustratingly googled “do most anarchists want open borders in order to destroy the welfare state.”

    I honestly believed that the anarchists in my country wanted open borders in order to collapse the welfare state. The people they protested for must of been secretly laughing at them behind their back, “we want the right to work” equals “we want the right to claim jobseekers allowance and social housing”. I’m not being simplistic or hysterical because I worked in a welfare office where non-national people were able to claim money for anything ranging from child buggies to a “social allowance” and any national (including my father) who paid big taxes and even employed people, and is now landed in hard times, is entitled to nothing!

    But I believe this to be a divide and conquer tactic by the state as many people complain about “them foreigners”. Why else give more rights and money to non-citizens?

    I now know many an upstanding member of society who now does their very best to screw the system or else it will screw them. Low level staff members in social welfare told these people to work for cash and avoid paying taxes as it would be too much hassle and too costly for them to declare income! Its crazy! Two friends who declared income during the summer were told by staff, “why did you do that? Now you have to pay x amount of tax and reapply for y at a reduced rate blah blah”.

    People who are worse off will always look for any chance to get free stuff or money. And who can blame them? If they are entitled to it why not look for it? Its up to the state and the state alone to stop giving away money and resources to people who haven’t made any contributions. It just really annoys me when people in my country either fall for this or the bullshit notion that we have to save the world.

    p.s fuck bob geldof

    Like

    • The Question says:

      (Applause)

      Your experience at the welfare office (I’ve seen the same at food banks) reminds of something I’ve wondered; just what kind of environment do open border activists or advocates live in? Do they live in a multicultural, diverse community brimming with immigrants from starkly different cultures? Or is that all just theoretical and they live in a more or less homogenized area?

      Consider Cato, Reason, and other pro-open border outlets. They’re all located in the Beltway, which is heavily segregated. I highly doubt the writers or the people who run it live in the same section of town as illegals; if they do interact with immigrants, most likely it’s the cream of the crop, the smart educated wealthier types, i.e. the ones nobody has a problem with entering.

      Meanwhile, people like myself live in some of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in America, possibly the world. We directly experience the effects of illegal immigration and immigrants who came here from less admirable cultures to live off welfare. They’re not libertarian and their children won’t be. Yet open border libertarians too often insult or isolate the demographic most receptive to their beliefs in order to placate those who will most likely vote against them.

      What makes me the most suspicious of this is that they are not even capable of accurately conveying or acknowledging what their opponents believe or argue, which strongly suggests they have no direct experience to draw upon or even have acquaintances who might have a separate opinion. Because I live in an area where the prevailing beliefs are diametrically opposed to mine, I am well versed in what others think and why they do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Brian says:

        I totally agree, the open border activists in my country live in affluent areas in south Dublin or in the middle of nowhere. But all the racists just happen to live in, as you say, the “ethnically diverse” areas.

        I say again, I don’t blame these people for what their doing (the state makes the rules). They just can’t believe their luck that these people have more money(other peoples money ie taxpayers) than sense. It beggars belief.

        I understand what you are say about other libertarians (which is a good point because its counter productive to the ideology), but here socialism makes everyone wet. Its the same people pushing feminism, gay rights etc that are demanding thousands of third worlders, who oppose their existence as humans, to come here and live off the over taxed middle income earners. It’s all so illogical that I imposed a media ban on myself today to stop my head from exploding from the ridiculousness of it all. Worst of all I think these views are the minority but they seem to set the agenda.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Question says:

        It’s all so illogical that I imposed a media ban on myself today to stop my head from exploding from the ridiculousness of it all.

        Unfortunately, I can’t do the same because I am the media working as a reporter.

        Like

  3. Brian says:

    Don’t worry I’ll still read your stuff, I just had a few whiskeys last night and got a bit carried away, haha. I still have to read this prepper rebel song you said you were working on!

    Like

  4. SusanneH says:

    I live in a neighborhood where many recent immigrants live, though I don’t know if they’re legal or not. My sons play with these kids, and what they’ve heard is that the kids’ fathers are mostly interested in taking over America and making it a Mexican nation.

    These kids have things our kids don’t have, such as constant bags of Taquis (a spicy corn snack that costs $2 for a small bag), the newest gaming systems, nice shoes as you mentioned above and much more. We don’t have those things since we’ve never been on welfare, received a free or reduced price lunch, etc. But these kids mostly eat free breakfasts and lunches at their schools, where something like 97% are classified as needing assistance from the government.

    Like

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