Ludwig Von Mises Opposed Mass Migration

The more one reads of actual libertarians such as Ludwig Von Mises, the more one realizes how perverted, distorted, and warped the modern perception of libertarianism is as described by “lolbertarians” whose primary interests is in ‘muh weed, gay sex, and portraying crass consumerism as some sort of enlightened spiritualism.

Equally erroneous is their take on nations and open borders. As they would have you believe it, nations and states are synonymous and cannot exist without the other. Further, (western) borders are arbitrary lines in the ground and symbol/represent no difference between the legal, social, cultural, political, religious, or ethnic structure of the two governments on either side.

The propagation of this attitude into the mainstream has led many, including those on the Alt. Right, to dismiss true libertarian intellectuals as useful idiots for the Left.

The reality is that they were far more radical and decidedly anti-globalist than one might imagine.

As it turns out, not only was Mises himself a proponent of nationalism as appropriately understood, but he also recognized the dangers unrestricted movement posed to the survival of a nation.

Joseph T. Salerno writes in Mises on Nationalism, the Right of Self-Determination, and the Problem of Immigration:

It should be noted here that, in contrast to many modern libertarians who view individuals as atomistic beings who lack emotional affinities and spiritual bonds with selected fellow humans, Mises affirms the reality of the nation as “an organic entity.”

For Mises the nation comprises humans who perceive and act toward one another in a way that separates them from other groups of people based on the meaning and significance the compatriots attach to objective factors such as shared language, traditions, ancestry and so on. Membership in a nation, no less than in a family, involves concrete acts of volition based on subjective perceptions and preferences with respect to a complex of objective historical circumstances.

Later on immigration, he explains how Mises warned that a mass migration – such as the kind occurring in Europe right now – “gives rise once again to all those conflicts that generally develop in polyglot territories.”

He writes (bold emphasis added):

In his brilliant but neglected analysis of the labor market in his economic treatise, Human Action, Mises points out that even the completely unhampered migration of labor across political boundaries does not lead to maximum labor productivity and a distribution of labor that equalizes wage rates for the same kind and quality of labor services throughout the global economy.

In discussing labor migration Mises therefore shifts the focus from the analytical abstraction of the “laborer” seeking the highest wages consonant with his leisure preferences to the real human actor who demonstrates preferences across a broad range of goals that include non-exchangeable goods like close proximity and association with members of the same family, religious affiliation, ethnicity or language group. Consequently, Mises explicitly recognizes that once the outdated assumptions underlying the free-trade doctrine advanced by Ricardo and the classical economists are dropped, and the international mobility of capital and labor as well as goods is considered, the case for free trade, while it remains valid “from the purely economic point of view . . presents a quite changed point of departure for testing the extraeconomic reasons for and against the protective system.”

Mises thus takes the analysis of migration beyond the realm of narrowly economic considerations and brings it into contact with the concrete political reality of the democratic mixed-nation-state and its characteristic suppression and violation of the property rights of national minorities by the majority nation.

This analysis leads Mises to view mass “immigration,” that is, labor migration across state borders, even when it occurs for purely economic reasons, as posing an inherent problem.

As Bionic Mosquito dryly noted in a response to Salerno’s piece:

It is easy to be for open borders, unchecked immigration, and the dismissal of culture when one is a part of the political majority.  Try being the minority for a while; see how that feels.

Don’t yell at me, take it up with Mises.

 

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One Response to Ludwig Von Mises Opposed Mass Migration

  1. Gunner Q says:

    “The more one reads of actual libertarians such as Ludwig Von Mises, the more one realizes how perverted, distorted, and warped the modern perception of libertarianism is as described by “lolbertarians” whose primary interests is in ‘muh weed, gay sex, and portraying crass consumerism as some sort of enlightened spiritualism.”

    This has been a longstanding problem for libertarians. You guys have solid theories & models but most people stop listening at “I get my way”. It’s what they wanted to hear.

    “It is easy to be for open borders, unchecked immigration, and the dismissal of culture when one is a part of the political majority. Try being the minority for a while; see how that feels.”

    Word. But for most people, being part of the majority IS their political belief. That’s why the Cathedral tries so hard to give the appearance of success and inevitability. Also why so many people can support the unsupportable evil of mass immigration. It’s the popular thing to do.

    Most of humanity never outgrows high school.

    Liked by 1 person

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